What Do I Do After A Fatal Car Accident?

Fatal Car Accident

Fatal car accidents are far too common and can be life changing for those involved. Not only does it impact the deceased person, but everyone around the accident including their family. For those involved in a fatal car accident due to their own actions, there are certain things that Oklahoma law requires you do. In this article, we will discuss what the next steps are after a fatal accident. We’ll also delve into some potential consequences you could face, and some defenses.

Legal Requirements After a Fatal Car Accident

Getting into a fatal car accident is terrifying. Most likely, it was unintentional, and just because you’re the at-fault driver doesn’t mean you didn’t sustain injuries too. In fact, the impact of a crash can leave you confused or in shock. As such, making you unable to process what happened. However, that’s no excuse for you to drive away or ever leave from the scene of the accident. If you’ve caused a wreck or death, you must provide these details before lawfully leaving the scene:

  • Your full name
  • Your home address
  • Your license and registration

Failing to give information can negatively affect your case and defenses. Additionally, it could result in heftier charges and compensatory damages. For example, the state could bring a felony charge against you for these actions. If convicted, you may have to pay a fine of up to $10,000. They may also require you to serve as much as ten years behind bars. You’re likely also going to be responsible for paying compensatory damages towards the deceased’s surviving loved ones.

Hit and Run Lawsuit

It’s a felony offense to leave the scene after causing a fatal car accident. Many people will commonly know this as a hit and run, and it is a very serious criminal offense. When a driver fails to stop, they not only break the law, but also fail to report the incident to emergency services. These actions could cause it to take longer for the injured person to get help. This is especially dangerous at night in more rural areas of the state. Such behavior is considered both morally and legally wrong, as it demonstrates a blatant disregard for human life. The repercussions of hit and run lawsuits reflect the significance of the offense and its impact on the victims and families.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter, and it’s separate from a criminal charge. In a civil suit, the surviving victims request financial compensation for any injuries that your faulty driving has caused. They can sue for the loss of support, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc. Fatal car accidents are difficult to be involved in, and can be made even worse with all of the potential legal consequences you could face after.

In addition, because the threshold of civil court is a lower bar than criminal court, if a judge or jury convict you in a criminal case you can expect to be found liable in a civil case. Thus, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney to reduce the chances of criminal conviction so that you’re in a more favorable position in a wrongful death civil suit.

Common Defenses for a Fatal Car Accident

When facing charges in a fatal car accident in Okmulgee County, there are several common defenses that your attorney might employ. One primary defense is challenging the causation of the crash. Thus, asserting that the defendant’s actions were not the direct cause of the fatality. Another defense might involve questioning the accuracy and reliability of the evidence presented. This could mean the integrity of the accident reconstruction or the credibility of eyewitness testimony. An attorney might also argue that the defendant was not driving negligently or recklessly, presenting evidence of unforeseeable mechanical failure or sudden medical emergencies that led to the crash.

Additionally, if there is an allegation of alcohol or drugs involvement, the defense may challenge the validity of sobriety tests or the handling of blood samples. In cases where the defendant is accused of fleeing the scene, the defense might argue that the defendant was unaware of the crash or that there was a legitimate reason for their departure. Each defense strategy will depend on specific facts and circumstances of the case. As such, it aims to create reasonable doubt regarding the defendant’s culpability. However, you should never employ any of these tactics on your own. An attorney is crucial in ensuring your defense is seamless and cohesive.

Okmulgee Criminal Defense Lawyers

When you face accusations of being the at-fault driver in a fatal car wreck, you’ll want an exceptional attorney on your side. Not only will they be able to walk you through the process, but they’ll also be able to help you if you’re facing charges or lawsuits as a result. Our team of criminal defense lawyers at Okmulgee Lawyers is here to help you. For a free consultation, call us at 918-621-8083 or use the Ask A Lawyer feature on our website. For information on other legal topics, check out our Okmulgee Law Blog.