On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

When a car accident results in a fatality, the family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. This compensation, which can come from insurers or the estate of the party determined to be responsible for the accident, is typically awarded for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Occasionally, an insurance company will attempt to settle with the victim’s family directly after the accident. In that case, the family needs to seek legal advice to decide if the settlement offer is reasonable.

A fatal crash in Ohio last month has resulted in felony charges against a teen driver. The 17-year-old boy was driving his Camaro when he apparently crossed the center line of the road into the oncoming lane. The Camaro collided with a man on a Suzuki motorcycle. The rider of the motorcycle, a 66-year-old, died at the scene.

It usually falls to investigators to determine who was at fault after an accident. This determination is based on many factors, including the position of the vehicles after the crash, the pattern of debris at the scene and sometimes toxicology tests.

Going over the center line into the opposing lane is usually an indicator of fault, but this is not always the case. If the driver could not avoid crossing the line because of a hazard in the road, a medical emergency or another credible reason, it is possible that neither party will be found at fault. However, if authorities determine that one party is to blame for the accident, this can strengthen any civil claim filed by victims or their families. There may also be a need for investigation beyond the initial police report.

It is unclear why prosecutors waited until just recently to file third-degree felony charges against the driver, who was transported to a local hospital after the accident and released the following day. However, if the driver is convicted, the family’s wrongful death claim, should they choose to file one, will likely be bolstered by the conviction.

Source: Coshocton Tribune, “Teen charged in fatal July crash,” Kathie Dickerson, Aug. 21, 2012

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