Perhaps one of the most anxiety-inducing times for the parent of a teenager is when they drive off with a car full of friends. Parents do all they can to make sure that their child learns safe driving habits, but as any wrongful death attorney knows, a parent can only do so much. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, changing lives forever.
Recently, a 15-year-old girl was killed when the car she was riding in went out of control, crashing into a post and several trees. A 20-year-old was driving the car, and there were two other teenaged passengers. The driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to make a turn. Neither the driver nor any of the passengers was wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident, and all the occupants were taken to a local hospital.
A wrongful death is one that is caused by the negligent or willful act or omission of another. When a passenger has been killed in a car accident, if the driver of the vehicle acted negligently, that driver could be found liable for the passenger's death. The ability to bring a wrongful death action rests with the victim's immediate family members - usually siblings, children or parents.
In this kind of lawsuit, the immediate family members may be able to get monetary damages for loss of support, loss of services and medical and funeral expenses. The amount of the damage award generally takes into consideration many factors about the victim, such as the age, health, earning capacity and life expectancy of the victim. While a damage award in a wrongful death suit cannot bring back a loved one, the award may be able to relieve some of the financial hardship that can accompany a sudden and tragic loss.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh, "Latrobe Teen Killed In Car Crash," Paul Martino, April 11, 2013