In 2017, 843 people died in fatal accidents on Virginia roads—608 drivers, 121 passengers, and 114 pedestrians. The causes of these crashes included:  When a loved one dies in a car crash

  • Drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol was found to be a factor in 248 of the 843 accident-related deaths reported in Virginia during 2017. Nationwide, drunk driving caused 10,497 deaths in 2016.
  • Drivers who were speeding. Speeding was found to be a factor in 318 of the 843 accident-related deaths reported in Virginia during 2017. During 2016, 10,111 accident-related deaths occurred because of speeding.
  • Drivers who were distracted. Using a cell phone, following GPS, arguing with a passenger, changing music, and eating while driving are examples of how a driver’s distraction may cause a fatal crash. Distraction was found to be a cause in 3,420 accident-related deaths across the country in 2016.
  • Drivers who were drowsy. Tired drivers can be as dangerous as distracted or drunk drivers. In 2016, 803 deaths in the United States were linked to drowsy driving.

Accidents also occur for other reasons when drivers fail to exercise due care behind the wheel. This includes failing to yield, improper lane changes, and running red lights or stop signs.

Learning What Happened to Your Loved One

A full investigation into the crash that killed your loved one will need to be done in order to determine what really caused the accident. This often requires significant investigation beyond what the police do at the scene of the crash and what they cite in the official police report. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you learn important details about the cause of the crash by:

  • Analyzing evidence that has already been provided. The police report, photos from the scene of the accident, and other evidence gathered immediately after the crash will be helpful in determining the cause of the accident.
  • Gathering additional evidence. The legal process allows your lawyer to do this in a number of ways. For example, your lawyer may send written questions that must be answered by the other driver. These are known as interrogatories, and they allow you to ask specific questions to determine what happened just before or during the accident that could have caused the crash. Similarly, your lawyer may request depositions to find out what happened during the accident or ask for specific documents to be provided to determine the true cause.
  • Talking to witnesses. Witnesses who saw the accident happen may have useful information to provide about the cause of the crash.
  • Working with an accident reconstructionist. These experts use science to determine what caused the crash. 
  • Working with expert witnesses. Other experts, including medical experts, may have useful information about the cause of the accident.

Together, all of this information can provide a complete understanding of the cause of the car wreck that took your loved one’s life.

Why This Car Accident Information Is Important

There are two reasons why it is important to know what caused your loved one’s fatal auto accident. When you know the cause, it can help you with your:

  • Legal recovery. In order to make a financial recovery through a settlement or a lawsuit, you need to know who to sue—who is liable for your loved one’s death. Once the right party is identified, then a legal case may be pursued.
  • Emotional recovery. Once you know what caused the crash, you will know who is responsible for your loved one’s death and how it happened. The answers to these questions may be useful as you try to rebuild your life without your loved one.

If you need to know what happened in the accident that took your loved one’s life, please contact our experienced and empathetic accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can reach us via this website or by phone at your convenience.