Fatal Car Accident Injuries

In the event of fatal car accident injuries, it is important to understand the legal implications, medical considerations, and support options available for the loved ones affected. Learn more about navigating this difficult situation.

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Fatal car crash injuries can happen instantly, or over time as the victim gradually succumbs to the initial conditions sustained during a wreck. Unfortunately, it appears that these injuries are on the rise as traffic, residential growth, and reckless driving have become far more common in Greenville. If you have lost a loved one because of a fatal car accident injury, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party.

Our Greenville car accident attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. can explain what you and your family need to know.

The Different Categories of Fatal Injuries

Now more than ever, automobiles are manufactured with some of the most advanced driver and passenger safety features available. Steel frames and laminated glass windshields are a couple of examples.

However, in some cases these and other components can cause injuries that may ultimately be fatal.

There are two broad types of deadly car accident injuries:

  • Impact injuries: These happen when moving or stationary objects collide with the driver or passenger. A head-on collision, for example, can cause the driver to slam into the steering wheel or cause an exploding airbag that results in serious injury to the face and head.
  • Penetrating injuries: A penetrating injury may occur if a pointed or sharp object penetrates the skin, eyes, arteries, and other vulnerable body parts. Shattering glass can cause deep lacerations and uncontrollable bleeding, for instance.

What Kinds of Injuries May Be Fatal?

Whether death happens instantaneously or is delayed, it may result from a variety of different car accident injuries. But car drivers and passengers aren’t the only potential victims. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists can also be fatally injured. These are a few of the most common fatal car accident injuries:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

A TBI is much more than a head wound. A severe enough blow to the head could penetrate the skull and cause bleeding, destroy brain tissue, or result in life-threatening bruising and swelling.

If the injury is not properly treated it may have deadly consequences. Death may come immediately following the accident or after the victim has been in a coma for an extended time.

Spinal cord injury

Victims with spinal cord injuries tend to die prematurely compared to those who have not suffered them. A severe enough car crash can sever the spinal cord and result in death.

However, there are other complications that many spinal cord injury victims experience. Renal failure, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and septicemia are some examples.

Internal injuries and bleeding

Internal injuries are some of the most dangerous because they are not always evident to the victim. Even without puncture wounds, a high-impact collision can cause serious damage to vital organs inside the body. The victim may suffer internal bleeding that gradually worsens to the point of death.

Bone fractures

While broken bones are common car crash injuries, not everyone appreciates how life-threatening they can be. A bone fragment can puncture organs such as the lungs, liver, intestines, and even the heart. Without quick treatment from a medical professional, the victim may die.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Following Fatal Car Accident Injuries

When there has been a car accident resulting in death, eligible surviving family members have the right to seek compensation by taking legal action. If the victim dies immediately from his or her fatal injuries, and they were caused by a negligent driver or other party, a lawsuit may be filed on behalf of the deceased victim’s family.

Wrongful death damages that a victim’s family may seek include:

  • The victim’s final medical expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits the deceased victim would have earned
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of support or companionship
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Punitive damages if the negligent party’s conduct was willful, wanton, reckless, or intentional

If the deceased victim left a will, the named Personal Representative of the estate will file the wrongful death claim. If there is no will or the Personal Representative is unwilling or unable to serve, the court will appoint a Personal Representative. Although the Personal Representative or administrator will file the lawsuit, any damages recovered will go to the surviving statutory beneficiaries

Those individuals are:

  • The deceased victim’s spouse and children
  • If the deceased victim has no living spouse or children, his or her parents will receive the damages.
  • If there are no living spouse, children, or parents, damages are given to thevictim’s heirs (individuals who are allowed to inherit property from the deceased).

What Are Survival Actions?

Survival actions are similar to, and are often filed in conjunction with, wrongful death claims. But there are some important distinctions between them.

First, while wrongful death lawsuits seek compensation for the loss experienced by surviving family members, the survival action is designed to seek damages for the losses experienced by the deceased victim before death. Because these lawsuits are filed on behalf of the deceased victim, rather than the family, there is no recovery for damages suffered after the victim’s death (except funeral expenses).

South Carolina law permits survival actions to recover damages for:

  • Conscious pain and suffering, in situations in which the victim suffers for some time after being in the crash but eventually succumbs to the injuries
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses, unless they were already recovered through a wrongful death action

As with a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action is filed by the Personal Representative or administrator of the victim’s estate. Any recovered damages will be divided among the deceased victim’s spouse, children, parents, or heirs according to their shares in the deceased victim’s estate. In some instances, the deceased person’s heirs who are entitled to the proceeds of the Survival Action may be different than the deceased person’s statutory beneficiaries who are entitled to the proceeds of the Wrongful Death Action.

Contact Our Attorney About Compensation for Fatal Car Accident Injuries

If your loved one suffered a car accident resulting in death, then we extend our sincere condolences to you and your family. We want you to know that you have the right to take action against the at-fault party or parties that caused your family member’s fatal car accident injuries.

An attorney at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. is ready to explain your legal options and help you get started on your wrongful death and survival action claims in the wake of a fatal crash. Contact us today online, or call [phone].


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