If someone you loved has died as a result of a ridesharing accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Compounding the emotional difficulty of grieving, you may have the added burden of financial stress: medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost income, and others costs. While no amount of money can ease the pain that comes with the loss of a loved one, holding the responsible party accountable with a wrongful death claim may help alleviate the potentially devastating financial impact for survivors.
What Does a Wrongful Death Claim Involve?
Wrongful death claims may be filed when a victim would have had a personal injury claim for damages had they survived. Therefore, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the estate of a deceased individual against the party or parties responsible for the death through malice, as in the case of murder or manslaughter, or negligence. Rideshare accidents that result in death are often caused by negligence: a driver who ignored the rules of the road, drove distracted, or engaged in other unsafe behavior behind the wheel.
A wrongful death claim may include damages such as:
- Loss of income. Most households and families rely on more than one income to support themselves and pay the bills. Therefore, spouses, minor children, and even parents of adult and unmarried children may relied on the income of a wrongful death victim. When a working adult is killed in a ridesharing accident, compensation for their lost wages may be included in damages.
- Medical expenses incurred before death. A victim who was injured and treated before their death may have incurred significant medical expenses in the attempt to save their life. The cost of emergency care and transportation, surgery, medication, and hospitalization may be included in compensable damages.
- Loss of services provided by the deceased. “Loss of services” may apply to individuals such as stay-at-home parents or adult children who cared for their aged parents and who did not earn income but instead provided valuable caregiving, household management, and other services to their family. Survivors who have to assume the responsibilities of the victim, or compensate someone else to provide them, may claim loss of services in damages.
- Loss of consortium or loss of love and companionship. Loss of consortium may apply to the spouse or partner of a victim, while loss of love and companionship may apply to parents, children of any age, or other family members of a victim. Monetary compensation cannot replace lost consortium, love, or companionship, but it may alleviate some of the burdens of the loss.
- Pain and suffering before death. Victims who survived an accident only to die from their injuries later may have experienced significant pain and suffering at the end of their life. Compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering may therefore be included in damages.
- Funeral and burial expenses. The cost of a funeral and burial may be substantial, and any victim who suffered a premature death may not have made advance arrangements to cover those expenses. Many victims of ridesharing accidents are young and healthy, and do not have life insurance or a plan for their death. As a result, loved ones and survivors have an added financial burden of funeral and burial costs.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims may be filed by the estate of the deceased on behalf of survivors who had a recognized relationship with that individual. Wrongful death claims typically apply to persons such as spouses, partners, minor children, and parents. Survivors with more distant family relationships to the victim may also be eligible in a wrongful death claim if they were a dependent of the victim, such as cases where a grandparent was raising a grandchild, or an elderly aunt or uncle lived with an adult caregiver niece or nephew.
You may have a wrongful death claim if:
- You needed the deceased to support you financially. This generally applies to spouses, partners, and minor children, but may include others such as aged parents who needed help from their adult child.
- You required unpaid services from the deceased. This most often applies to those survivors who shared a household with the deceased individual.
- You had a life partnership with the deceased, even if you were not married. While being unmarried can make it more difficult to prove grounds for a wrongful death claim, partners who shared a household, finances, or family with the victim may pursue damages for their loss.
Who Is Responsible for Paying a Wrongful Death Claim After a Ridesharing Accident?
If someone you love was killed as a result of a ridesharing accident, one or more parties may be liable for damages. Generally, anyone deemed responsible for the accident will also bear responsibility for the wrongful death claim. This may include:
- The driver of the ridesharing vehicle. If the ridesharing driver was driving irresponsibly, including driving erratically or driving distracted, they may be liable for damages.
- The driver of another vehicle involved in the accident. If the accident was caused entirely or in part by another driver they may be liable damages.
- The bar or restaurant who over-served a drunk driver. If the accident was caused by a drunk driver, the bar, restaurant, or establishment that over-served them may share liability for damages.
- The entity who employs the responsible driver. In some cases, the business that employed the responsible driver—such as Uber or Lyft, in the case of ridesharing drivers—may share liability for damages. This is most likely to apply where a driver was known to drive dangerously, had a history of violations or accidents, or was required to drive in unsafe conditions.
Get Legal Help for Your Wrongful Death Claim
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one because of a ridesharing accident, speak to an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to determine if you have a claim and who may be responsible for damages. Contact Uber Car Accident Law at (305) 964-8806 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we can help.