Losing a loved one is hard, and knowing another driver’s negligence caused the death can add to the emotional burden.  In legal terms, negligence means the person whose fault caused a loved one’s death failed to meet the standard of care of a reasonable person in a similar situation.

When someone’s carelessness causes another’s death, South Dakota allows a court-appointed representative to bring a wrongful death lawsuit claim to benefit surviving relatives. A successful legal claim can help restore financial stability to the deceased’s family and may prevent other careless acts from causing similar losses to other families.  Getting a substantial wrongful death payment can help survivors feel they secured appropriate recognition of the significance of their loved one’s life and death.

Liability in Semi Accidents

Large trucks and buses cause fatalities at an alarming rate each year, with 4,311 such vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2015. That year, the rate of overall traffic fatalities in South Dakota was even higher than both the national average and the rate in the neighboring states of Iowa and Minnesota. The process for determining liability in fatality cases is similar to in other personal injury cases, but trucking cases can be especially complex and should not be handled without skilled legal help.

Bus and semi drivers typically need special licenses to drive those vehicles and must follow federal safety regulations. Besides common sense and state traffic law’s rules of the road, commercial drivers must comply with special regulations intended to protect the public by enhancing safe operation of big rigs. Violation can trigger liability if the violation was even one cause of the crash that took another’s life.

Buses and tractor-trailers often are owned and operated by commercial companies. In those cases, the driver’s employer may be legally liable, along with the driver. Fortunately, commercial carriers usually have better insurance coverage than private individuals carry, making it more likely an appropriate settlement demand can be covered.  A semi-truck accident attorney can discuss who may ultimately bear blame for your loved one’s death.

Compensation for Wrongful Death

While it’s hard to reduce the value of your loved one’s companionship to monetary terms, the law allows a judgment based on those losses, as well as more obvious financial losses resulting from a death. Specifically, this means you can claim loss of companionship along with the lost income or service your loved one provided. Medical and funeral expenses also may be recovered as part of a settlement.

Speak to an Attorney

Because these legal cases are so unique to each family’s experience, it’s difficult to state an average wrongful death settlement in South Dakota. An attorney at Turbak Law can help you assess whether taking legal action is the best option for you and your family. To learn more, contact us to arrange a meeting at (866) 231-0914.