What To Do After A Fatal Car Crash

Hit-and-Run Accidents in New Jersey

Car Accidents Resulting in Serious Injuries and Death

Car accidents happen every day. Most of the time, people are able to walk away with minor injuries and a dented vehicle. But sadly there are also serious crashes where a driver or passenger sustains injuries that result in a loss of life. Now, a situation that is already chaotic and stressful becomes even worse. Both witnesses and the families of the deceased need to know what to do next. Here is what you should know about the aftermath of a fatal car crash.

Immediate Aftermath

Of course the primary concern after a serious car crash is the well-being of those involved. Call emergency services right away to render medical aid to anyone who might need it. Then, contact the police to secure the accident scene and keep the area safe for the victims and to control traffic passing by the wreck site. If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene with a camera or smartphone for evidentiary purposes and get the names of all the parties involved with the accident, and any potential onlookers who witnessed the event. The police will likely want to ask you questions for an accident report, as well. But the primary concern should always be for the health and safety of anyone involved.

Common Causes Of Fatal Car Accidents

Although any accident carries the risk of serious injury or death depending on the circumstances, there are certain conditions where death is more likely. One that likely springs to mind immediately is speeding.  In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, which made up about a quarter of all road deaths that year. Collisions with large vehicles like semi-trailer trucks also see a higher rate of death than with regular passenger vehicles. Other factors like consumption of drugs, alcohol, drowsy driving, and breaking traffic can also contribute to a higher fatality rate. Evidence of any of these can be important in future litigation. 

Legal Actions After A Fatal Crash

For the person deemed to be at-fault for the accident, there can be both criminal and civil consequences. For example, a drunk driver who kills someone else in a car crash can be charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter, depending on the jurisdiction. There are also possible remedies for victims and their families in civil court. It is important to note that the civil and criminal punishments are completely and totally separate and take place in different courts. If a person is not convicted of any criminal charges levied against them, that does not mean civil remedies are barred. In fact, in civil court, the standard of proof is lower than in criminal courts, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wrongful Death Suits

It is important to note that while death might occur instantly, if a victim dies from their injuries after the accident, their family still has the remedy of a wrongful death suit available to them, as long as the chain of causation links the driver’s actions to the death. Identifying the victim’s surviving family determines who can bring such a suit, with the most common being spouses, parents, and children of the deceased. If successful, the victim’s next of kin is entitled to monetary damages for medical and funeral costs, loss of companionship, and emotional trauma. Talk to a personal injury attorney to help explain your rights as next of kin.

Contact A New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case Today

Did you sustain serious injuries or had a loved one pass away in a car crash in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Silverman and Roedel, LLC represent clients injured in car accidents in Paterson, Wayne, Newark, East Orange, Hackensack, Garfield, and everywhere else in New Jersey. Call (973) 772-6411 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1187 Main Avenue, Suite 2C, Clifton, NJ 07011. 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.