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Who Pays for Passenger Deaths in Single-Vehicle Crashes?

Most fatal accidents have at least two cars, and the families can seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance. But sometimes a single car will crash, and the passengers in the car are killed. The families are often left with many questions about who is going to compensate them for the loss of a loved one.

Driver and Two Passengers die in Single-Car Crash in Tulare County

Tragedy struck in the early morning of Monday, May 11, 2020, when a car drove off the road and hit a tree just south of Exeter. According to the CHP, the accident happened when the driver blew through a stop sign at Highway 65 on Avenue 256.

Then the car inexplicably turned to the right and spun off the roadway and into an olive orchard. The driver was fully ejected and one of the passengers was partially ejected. The CHP believes that alcohol may have been a factor.

Passenger Liability in Wrongful Death Cases

In California, the surviving members of someone who was killed due to the negligence of another person can file a wrongful death claim. In most cases, the driver or the person responsible for the accident is not in the same car as the deceased.

But when this does happen, the law will still allow the families of the deceased to make a wrongful death claim. To get compensation, the family members have to prove that the driver was negligent and the negligence was the cause of the death of their loved one.

For some, this poses a problem if the driver and the passengers were friends. They may be reluctant to file a claim feeling that it will cause more grief and pain to the family of the driver. However, this is the reason they bought insurance in the first place so that if something happened, then there would be money to compensate those who have suffered a loss. They were doing the responsible thing in having insurance in case there was an accident.

Damages in a Passenger Wrongful Death

When someone dies in a car accident, it’s the family of the deceased that can make a claim for a wrongful death. The losses are looked at from the perspective of the close family members of the deceased and how their lives have been impacted from the death.

The law allows for both economic and non-economic damages meaning compensation for both out-of-pocket losses like funeral and burial expenses and intangible—but important—things like loss of companionship or pain and anguish.

Some of the more common damages allowed under California wrongful death law are:

  • Medical Bills for the deceased related to the accident
  • Burial Expenses
  • Loss of Income for Dependents
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Loss of Benefits
  • Loss or Consortium
  • Loss of Training and Guidance
  • Mental Pain and Anguish

At Maison Law, we know how hard it is to lose a loved one, and how much pain and anguish one goes through during this time. We have helped many clients in making their claims for a wrongful death so that they could focus on their family and not have to worry about making a claim.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer.

After an accident involving a serious injury in the Central Valley, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and personalized attention to detail their case deserves.


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