The tragic loss of a loved one in a car accident is a devastating experience. Aside from the emotional trauma, surviving family members may face significant financial and personal hardships as a result. If the accident was caused by another person’s negligence or reckless behavior, you might be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim under Utah law.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Utah Code section 78B-3-106, a wrongful death claim arises when someone dies due to the wrongful act or neglect of another party. In the context of car accidents, a wrongful death claim may be brought if the accident resulted in the death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

In Utah, either the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate or the deceased person’s heirs (which may include a surviving spouse, children, or parents) can file a wrongful death claim for damages.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim After a Car Accident

A car accident in Utah is likely to trigger a wrongful death claim if the following essential elements of a case can all be demonstrated:

  • Duty of Care:All drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles responsibly and obey traffic laws. This duty of care is designed to protect other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the road.
  • Breach of Duty:You must show that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care. Common forms of negligence in car accidents include speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and failure to yield the right-of-way.
  • Causation: You’ll need to demonstrate that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the car accident and consequently, your loved one’s death.
  • Damages: A successful wrongful death claim allows surviving family members or the deceased person’s estate to recover damages. These can include both economic and non-economic damages, as outlined in the next section.

Understanding Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

When a loved one’s life is tragically cut short due to a car accident, the losses extend far beyond emotional devastation. A wrongful death claim in Utah aims to help surviving family members recover compensation for both the economic impact and the intangible losses associated with their loved one’s death.

Here’s a breakdown of the two main categories of damages:

Economic Damages

These damages cover the tangible financial losses resulting from the death. They can include:

  • Medical expenses related to any treatment the victim received before their passing
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of the deceased person’s income and earning potential
  • Loss of benefits, including health insurance, pension plans, and other employment-related benefits

Non-Economic Damages

These damages are harder to quantify and aim to compensate for the profound emotional and personal losses suffered by surviving family members. They may include:

  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased person before their death
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish experienced by surviving family members
  • Loss of companionship, love, care, support, and guidance

Challenges in Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims stemming from car accidents can be complex, and some unique challenges might arise:

  • Liability Disputes:Determining who is liable for the accident is crucial. In some cases, more than one party may share responsibility, making the process of assigning liability more complicated.
  • Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies may dispute the extent of their coverage or attempt to minimize payouts. Navigating the complexities of insurance policies can be difficult without legal representation.

Contact Our Utah Wrongful Death Lawyers

Losing a loved one in a car accident is heartbreaking, and figuring out your legal options can feel overwhelming. Our experienced Utah wrongful death lawyers at Great West Injury Law understand the intricacies of these cases and are dedicated to helping you get the justice you deserve.

Benefits of working with our team include:

  • A thorough investigation of the accident to gather evidence and establish liability
  • Calculation of a fair compensation amount encompassing both your economic and non-economic losses
  • Skillful negotiation with insurance companies to secure the best possible settlement
  • If necessary, taking your case to court and fighting for your rights at trial

If you’ve lost a loved one in a Utah car accident, don’t face this alone. Our compassionate legal team is here to answer your questions, explain your rights, and guide you through every step of the process.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us help you and your family navigate this difficult time and seek the justice and compensation you deserve.