Types of Evidence to Prove the Death of a Spouse in a Car Accident

Types of Evidence to Prove the Death of a Spouse in a Car Accident

May 15, 2024


Losing a spouse is always a devastating experience. However, it becomes more tragic, confusing, and frustrating if their death results from another party’s negligent actions, resulting in a car accident. 

It is impossible to bring back the life of a spouse. Due to this, surviving family members will experience significant loss from the death and other burdens caused by the auto crash. Aside from coping with the emotional impact, you must also deal with the financial strain sustained, such as past medical bills, property damage costs, loss of income, and burial expenses.

In such a circumstance, you may file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for the losses from a car accident. While this may not reverse time and bring back your spouse’s life, it can help reduce the financial burden brought on by the collision.

However, to claim compensation, you must have the necessary evidence to justify that your spouse’s death results from another driver’s negligence. This article will help you determine different types of proof to build your case and how to successfully file a wrongful death claim.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?

Auto crashes, like any other accidents, may result in minor to severe injuries and even death. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 39,508 motor vehicle crashes in the United States, and 42,939 fatalities resulted from those in 2021.

A wrongful death claim arises when a victim dies due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. For example, if your spouse loses their life in an auto crash due to another driver’s drinking under the influence (DUI) violation, you, as the spouse, may file a wrongful death claim. This claim aims to receive compensation for the damages sustained by the victim who suffered injuries and other damages until their demise.

Types of Evidence to Prove the Death of a Spouse in a Car Accident

Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if My Spouse Dies in an Auto Accident?

If your spouse dies in an auto accident due to another party’s wrongful actions, you can file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation. In most, if not all, states, spouses have the right to pursue a case for their partner’s wrong death.

In case no surviving spouse is present, other entities can file a wrongful death claim. However, this depends on the jurisdiction of your state. Typically, the following can bring a case for a wrongful death:

  • Surviving children of the deceased.
  • The victim’s parents (if there is no spouse or child).
  • The victim’s siblings (if there is no spouse, child, or parent)
  • Personal representative of the estate

While a surviving spouse can receive compensation for the damages, what happens if you aren’t married to the deceased victim? Usually, an unmarried companion of the deceased individual might pursue a wrongful death claim provided they can demonstrate cohabitation and financial reliance on the deceased before the incident. Nonetheless, the feasibility of this action varies based on the legal jurisdiction within your state.

Types of Evidence for a Wrongful Death Claim

As mentioned, it is crucial to have the necessary evidence to justify that another party’s negligence caused the car accident, resulting in your spouse’s death. Without valid evidence, you might lose your case even if the other party is responsible for the crash. 

Types of Evidence to Prove the Death of a Spouse in a Car Accident

Photos of Videos of the Crash

In a wrongful death case, images and videos from the collision are essential pieces of evidence. These visual recordings can provide critical details on the accident scene, the vehicles involved, the impact force, and any contributing circumstances. For example, a photo of the cars involved can show how severe the damage was and how it happened. If the car had significant damage to the front of the vehicle, it may have been a wrong-way car crash.

Moreover, videos of the crash, such as dash camera footage, can show how the accident happened. You may also check if there are surveillance cameras near the accident scene that capture the occurrence of the crash. 

Furthermore, pictures and videos can capture crucial information that might not be immediately visible, such as the state of the road, traffic signs, or the locations of the cars before and after the collision. 

Overall, photos and videos of the accident scene can assist investigators and lawyers in piecing together the events that preceded the auto crash and identifying potential culprits. This is why gathering photos and videos at the scene after a car accident is crucial.

Police Reports

Parties involved in a car accident must notify the authorities, mainly if the accident results in injuries, significant property damage, or wrongful death. When responding officers arrive at the scene, they will typically examine the evidence present and create a police report.

Police reports thoroughly summarize the events leading to a vehicle crash. They contain relevant information such as the accident’s date, time, location, description of the cars involved, and any injuries that may have been received. They might also include witness accounts, responding officer observations, accident scene schematics or sketches, and any penalties or infractions issued. 

Police reports are important sources of information for wrongful death claims as they show how the car accident happened and what caused it.

Types of Evidence to Prove the Death of a Spouse in a Car Accident

Medical Records

Usually, victims of car accidents suffer from catastrophic injuries. If it eventually leads to their death, the medical bills from the treatments received before their passing can be included in a wrongful death settlement.

Medical records are crucial data that offer specifics on the injuries sustained. Diagnoses, treatment plans, prescription drugs, completed surgeries, and other pertinent medical treatments are frequently included in these records. 

Sometimes, insurance providers insist that the victim’s death results from a different injury other than those sustained from the car accident. If this happens to you, you must have the necessary medical documentation showing the diagnosis of the injuries and the cause of death of your loved one.

Employment Records

When a victim sustains injuries from a crash, they typically need time to recover, especially if the injuries are significant. During this time, they might miss work, resulting in lost wages. When filing a claim, you may include such losses in your settlement.

Similarly, if you lose a spouse from a car accident and you were financially dependent on them, you may contend for compensation for the potential loss of income due to the wrongful death.

Employment records detail a victim’s work history and current status with an employer. These documents usually contain information about the employee’s job title, pay, dates of employment, hours worked, performance reviews, disciplinary actions, and any benefits they may have received. 

Employment records may also include details regarding the terms of employment, including agreements, contracts, policies, and procedures. These records are crucial in wrongful death claims because they can support the establishment of elements like lost income and loss of earning capacity. 

Death Certificate

A death certificate is a formal document that certifies a person’s death and is provided by a medical expert or government agency. Essential data, including the deceased’s name, the time and location of their death, the reason behind their passing, and other pertinent information, are usually included in this document.

The death certificate is an essential document needed in wrongful death claims to prove the facts and circumstances of the death. It helps establish the foundation for the claim and offers crucial information when proving the claim. 

Overall, these types of evidence are crucial in establishing the cause of your spouse’s death. It is best to hire a wrongful death lawyer who can collect all necessary proof to justify your claim and contend for fair compensation for your losses.

Types of Evidence to Prove the Death of a Spouse in a Car Accident

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Claim?

Understandably, surviving partners of deceased spouses will experience emotional turmoil due to their loved one’s passing. Due to the overwhelming emotional impact of their fatality, it may become challenging to file and handle a wrongful death claim. 

For example, a hit-and-run driver struck your spouse’s vehicle in Los Angeles, resulting in their death. Due to the complexities of the case, you need to gather solid evidence to identify and locate the driver before filing a wrongful death. How can you focus on the case if you also need to take care of the burial and funeral of your partner?

In such a case, the best accident lawyer Los Angeles can offer can build your claim by evaluating the facts, gathering evidence, locating the driver, and determining the best legal actions to receive compensation for the losses. 

Losing a loved one may have an immense emotional toll, so having a compassionate and competent legal expert by your side can offer much-needed support and guidance during this trying time. Seeking legal advice from a wrongful death attorney will assist in guaranteeing that your rights are upheld and that you are compensated fairly for your loss.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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