Every year, thousands of car accidents with pedestrians occur. In many cases, the pedestrian is killed due to traumatic impact from a vehicle. The cause of this type of incident ranges from drunk driving to someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The family members of the deceased will often seek damages, in which case a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed. The following are some things you should know if you are involved in a pedestrian wrongful death case:
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a case in which the family members left behind go to court to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one. It is a civil case that will be filed against one or more defendants seeking financial compensation for the loss. It is not a criminal case, in which the defendant will be tried for a crime and face penalties. In this type of case, the defendant would be found liable or not liable rather than guilty or not guilty. If the defendant is found liable, he or she would have to pay the compensation to the family members and survivors of the deceased.
In many instances, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way for the family of the deceased to get any sort of financial payment. Civil cases involving a pedestrian in which the defendant is not charged with a crime, due to lack of evidence or witnesses, is the only recourse for some families to get any sort of justice for the death of their family member.
Who Has the Burden of Proof?
A wrongful death lawsuit where the pedestrian is killed will require the burden of proof to be on the plaintiffs, or the survivors and family of the deceased. The plaintiffs have to provide evidence that the defendant was negligent or was otherwise doing something wrong to cause the accident that killed the pedestrian. For example, proof of distracted driving, intoxication, driving while tired, and the like are all instances in which would require proof to win the case.
The best thing to do is to get a copy of the policy report, any photos available, as well as any witness statements from those who saw the accident.
If you have any questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit for a deceased pedestrian, you should contact a wrongful death attorney, such as at the firm of Putnam Lieb Potvin, as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for the pedestrian to get the blame automatically, so work with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure a fair case with clear facts.