San Diego Fatal Car Accident Lawyer
Have you recently lost a loved one in a fatal San Diego car accident? Do you and your family still have unanswered questions about what lead up to the accident? Is the insurance company refusing to help? If so, a San Diego wrongful death attorney can help by investigating the accident, preparing a claim, negotiating with the insurance company and working toward a quick resolution to your case.
We are The Levinson Law Group, a Southern California personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle collisions. Our founder, Gordon Levinson, spent years working for some of the largest insurance companies in North America. Now he uses that knowledge and experience fighting for injured and aggrieved people against the big insurance companies. Put our experience, insider knowledge and expertise on your side.
Fatal Car Accidents in California
California is the most populous state in the nation, with more registered motor vehicles than any other state. According to figures from 2018, more than 15 million vehicles were registered in the state, nearly double the number of any other state. Given the number of cars on the road, it is no surprise that California consistently ranks among the top three states with the highest number of fatal car accidents.
According to the most recent data from the California Highway Patrol, in 2017, there were more than 3,582 fatal California car accidents. These collisions claimed a total of more than 3,900 lives.
Car accidents are a leading cause of preventable injury and death in California, and San Diego is no exception. Over the past several years, an average of about 90 people lost their lives in San Diego car accidents.
Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in San Diego
Almost all motor vehicle collisions are preventable if drivers take the appropriate precautions. It only takes a momentary lapse in judgment or a single poor decision to set a chain of events in motion that ultimately leads to an accident. Too often, these mistakes and oversights lead to tragic consequences.
There are many causes of fatal San Diego car accidents. Below are a few of the most common.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol severely compromises a motorist’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. When someone gets behind the wheel while impaired, their reaction time increases and their attention to their surroundings decreases, as does their ability to make good decisions. The number of fatal San Diego DUI accidents has remained relatively constant, claiming about 75 lives per year. This makes drunk and drugged driving one of the leading causes of fatal auto accidents.
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
California, particularly Southern California, is notorious for its traffic problem. Drivers who spend a lot of time sitting in traffic are more likely to speed and engage in aggressive driving behaviors when given the opportunity. Most of these motorists see themselves as “superior” drivers, falsely believing that they have the unique ability to drive however they want without putting themselves or others at risk. However, this arrogant attitude contributes to nearly a third of all fatal San Diego car accidents.
Distracted driving has become an increasingly common problem on San Diego roads. While talking or texting while driving are leading causes of distracted driving, they are not the only ones. Other common types of distracted driving include grooming, eating, dealing with children in the back seat, daydreaming, fiddling with the radio and reading. Any action that removes a driver’s attention from the road significantly increases the chances of a serious car crash.
In fact, in 2019, more than 3,100 people died in distracted driving accidents, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
People take on more responsibility today than ever before. Whether it be working multiple jobs, splitting time between families or driving children to school and sports practice, most drivers are busy—and many sleep-deprived. Recent studies have shown that the effects of fatigue on a motorist’s ability to drive safely are equivalent to the effects of intoxication.
According to the National Safety Council, fatigued driving is responsible for more than 1,500 traffic-related deaths per year across the country.
California Wrongful Death Claims Following a Fatal San Diego Car Accident
If you recently lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you are dealing with an immense amount of grief. Understandably, you were not prepared for such a tragedy. As time passes, you begin to realize that the impact on your family is not limited to the loss of your loved one. Families who lose a working parent may experience a significant decrease in income. Families who lose a stay-at-home parent lose the person responsible for caring for and raising children. And parents who tragically lose a child must deal with a lifetime of grief.
However, after a fatal San Diego car accident, you have options. You can pursue a wrongful death claim against the party or parties responsible for your loss. A wrongful death claim is similar to other types of personal injury claims, except that it is filed by the accident victim’s surviving loved ones rather than by the accident victim. Under California law, any of the following family members can bring a wrongful death claim:
- Domestic partners
- Any other party who is entitled to the accident victim’s property under the California intestate laws
Successfully bringing a San Diego wrongful death claim requires you to prove that the other party’s negligent actions resulted in your loved one’s death. Under state law, this requires the proof of several elements:
- The other party owed your loved one a duty of care;
- The other party violated that duty, through some action or failure to act; and
- The other party’s actions were the cause of your loved one’s death.
At The Levinson Law Group, we work closely with families, helping them hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. We have been representing families in San Diego wrongful death claims for many years. We have successfully served more than 3,500 clients, helping them recover the compensation that allows them to start to move on with their life after an unnecessary and unexpected tragedy.
Damages in a Fatal San Diego Car Accident Case
Under California law, families who lost a loved one in a fatal San Diego car accident can recover monetary damages. In most cases, there are two types of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, economic and non-economic damages.
These are both considered “compensatory damages” because they provide money damages to grieving families to put them back in the situation they were in before the accident. Of course, nothing can bring back a loved one lost in a senseless accident. However, successfully bringing a wrongful death lawsuit ensures that your family is not left on the hook for any accident-related expenses caused by another party’s negligence.
Economic damages consist of the out-of-pocket expenses you and your family face due to the accident. Economic damages include the following:
- The financial support the accident victim would have provided to their family
- The loss in value of gifts or other benefits the family could have expected from the accident victim had they lived
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The value of household services the deceased accident victim could reasonably have been expected to provide to their family
Non-economic damages are more subjective in that they compensate families for the emotional and psychological impact the accident had on their life. Non-economic damages vary widely and may include amounts for the following:
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of affection
- Loss of protection
- Loss of training and guidance
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of moral support
If you lost a loved one in a fatal San Diego car accident, the full extent of your losses is hard to comprehend. At The Levinson Law Group, our compassionate team of fatal car accident lawyers is here to help you through the process, ensuring that you are treated fairly and with respect.
One of the most common mistakes families make in the wake of major tragedy is waiting too long to file a claim. Of course, this is understandable, as few families are up for taking on the additional burden of preparing a claim or arguing with insurance companies about the value of their family member’s life. However, if you wait too long, you may miss your opportunity to pursue a claim against the responsible parties.
Under California law, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from the date of the victim’s death. Notably, this may not be two years from the accident date, although in many cases, it is.
While it may seem like you have ample time to file a claim, it is better to get started as soon as possible. The more quickly you file a claim, the better the chances your attorney will be able to recover all necessary documents, physical evidence and track down any witnesses to the accident.
Contact the Dedicated Fatal San Diego Car Accident Lawyers at The Levinson Law Group
Losing a loved one in a tragic accident is one of the most challenging things anyone can go through. At The Levinson Law Group, we have extensive experience working with families through this process and have developed an effective and compassionate approach to handling these difficult cases. Our attorneys have more than 40 years handling some of the most complex and contested car accident cases. Because several of our attorneys have a background in insurance defense, we understand how insurance companies approach these cases and use that knowledge for our clients’ benefit.
When you choose to work with The Levinson Law Group, you can rest assured that you will have someone in your corner throughout the process. We begin by explaining the recovery process in relatable terms and make ourselves available to answer your questions whenever they come up. To learn more about your options, give The Levinson Law Group a call at 760-840-2304. We accept cases on a contingent fee. That means that if there is no recovery in your case, you pay no fee. And in most cases, we even advance the costs.