Killed by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel...

by Darren

My father was hit and killed by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel. The driver admitted he fell asleep. My father had broken down on the side of the road and did everything by the book (in a breakdown situation in a big truck).

I was wondering what the average settlement was in a wrongfull death case like this where someone is killed by a driver that fell asleep at the wheel? Is there anything I should be worried about in a case like this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Killed by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel...":


There is no “average” settlement in a Wrongful Death case. Each settlement is as different as the person for whom the settlement is based upon. In assessing a settlement amount there are many factors which must first be considered. Here are some of them:

--The age of the deceased

--Their income at the time of their death added together with future income, including additional amounts for inflation, probable pay raises, cost of living increases and promotions

--The pain and suffering they may have endured before they died as well as the pain and suffering of the spouse.

--Medical expenses

--Funeral and burial or cremation expenses

--And spousal loss of companionship

Although you and your family should be left to grieve and not worry about such affairs as insurance settlement amounts, the reality is that someone really needs to take the lead in securing legal representation, and promptly.

Although we would like to believe insurance companies do not take advantage of those who are grieving, you can be sure there are some that will. In any event the family member chosen to take the lead in the financial matters of the deceased should be careful not to sign or let the deceased’s next of kin sign any agreements of any type proposed to them by any insurance company.

Similarly the family representative should make sure no one signs any agreements with your father’s employer. From the facts you present it is difficult for us to know if your father was married at the time of his death. If so, the wife, possibly your mother, is the person who should be protected most.

There will be time for settlements. Do not allow anyone to push you or the next of kin into signing any agreements until such time as you consult with a skilled Personal Injury Wrongful Death Attorney. Almost all Wrongful Death Attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation. Make sure the family representative and next of kin visit with one of these skilled Attorneys first.

You ask about a possible settlement amount. What we can tell you Darren is that without the professional services of a skilled Attorney there is a very high probability the settlement amount will be unreasonably low, and in some cases blatantly unfair. And because Personal Injury Wrongful Death Attorneys do not get paid a cent until they win or settle the case you can be sure your father’s representation will be additionally fierce.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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