Car insurance protects individual drivers against liability and the general public against the financial devastation that often comes from major motor vehicle collisions. Those affected by a recent crash likely understand that they can file a claim and that the driver who caused the collision will provide the coverage to pay for their losses.
Oregon mandates both bodily injury and property damage coverage, but sometimes that insurance won’t be enough. Families often find that day need to look into alternative options for compensation, especially if a crash results in someone dying. Those affected by car crashes can file civil lawsuits against the party responsible for the wreck. Surviving family members also have legal rights, as they can pursue wrongful death claims.
Why do fatal collisions often lead to lawsuits in civil court?
Insurance may not cover enough
Not everyone follows the law, which is why so many traffic crashes occur in the first place. Speeding, drunk driving and other bad behaviors can put everyone at risk on the road. While Oregon does require liability insurance, many people resent those financial obligations and may intentionally cancel their policy after registering their vehicle. Others might miss payments due to financial hardships, resulting in a lapse in their coverage.
There are also thousands of drivers in Oregon who only have the basic coverage required by state law. If your loved one who died was the only person hurt in the crash, the insurance coverage of the other driver could pay as little as $25,000 toward their hospital bills and lost wages. Your family might be left struggling to absorb hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and losses.
How wrongful death claims help
Oregon law authorizes wrongful death claims brought against either individuals or businesses who cause a preventable death through negligence or illegal activity. Such claims allow those affected by the death to request compensation for all of the losses the family will suffer, including a lifetime of wages and work benefits. Especially when the costs of the crash far exceed what insurance will pay, such lawsuits may be the only way for the family to recoup their losses.
A wrongful death claim also can give a family a sense of closure by essentially affirming that the defendant in the case was responsible for causing the death. Understanding why wrongful death claims occur can help you determine if your family may need to pursue one.