Perhaps one of the most difficult things for the friends and family of an accident victim is seeing the victim in the hospital. As any wrongful death attorney knows, the aftermath of a tragic accident can be hard on loved ones, especially where there is extended pain and suffering.
Recently, a 67-year-old Allegheny County woman was hit by a small school bus, and critically injured. She was in the hospital for one week before she died. The driver of the school bus, a 71-year-old man, is reported to have known that he hit the victim, and then fled the scene. He initially told police that he did not strike the woman, but was later charged with making a false report to the police. He was also charged with reckless driving and an accident involving personal injury. Authorities have not yet indicated whether any other charges would be brought against the bus driver in light of the victim’s death.
When someone is killed due to the negligent or willful actions of another, the surviving family members of the victim may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Each state has its own laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits, but generally, they must be brought by the representative of the victim’s estate, and the primary recovery is in the form of monetary damages. These damages may cover medical expenses for the time that the victim in the hospital as well as funeral expenses, plus pecuniary damages for loss of support and loss of services.
Negligent conduct in the context of a vehicle accident can come in the form of speeding, failing to heed traffic signals or failure to use turn signals. Additionally, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can constitute negligence. Reckless driving, or driving unsafely and with a disregard for the safety of others, can also give rise to liability.
Source: Post-Gazette.com, “Woman dies a week after being struck by bus,” Lexi Belculfine, May 8, 2013