On October 24th, actor Leslie Jordan died in a car crash. It is currently unclear what caused the one-car crash, in which Jordan’s car veered into a building at the intersection of Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine Street in Hollywood. Jordan, famous for his roles on American Horror Story and Will & Grace, was en route to the set of his current television show, Call Me Kat, when the accident occurred.
No immediate cause of death was released by the coroner’s office after Jordan’s death. The actor had been struggling with health issues before the accident and had a cardiologist appointment scheduled when he passed. Jordan may have been reacting to another driver or had a medical emergency that led him to lose control of the vehicle and crash. It is unclear whether it was a health emergency or the crash itself that caused his death. The official cause of death will be released by the medical examiner’s office pending further investigation.
Jordan’s death will leave a hole in the lives of his family, friends, and colleagues. Unexpected traffic deaths like these are more common than you may realize. If you lose a loved one to an avoidable car crash, it will impact you for the rest of your life. Here’s what you need to know about the fatal risks of car accidents in California, how losing a loved one can affect your life, and how you can hold negligent drivers accountable if they cause a deadly accident.
Risks Posed by Car Accidents
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 32,000 people die in traffic accidents yearly or 90 people per day. In California alone, there were more than 3500 traffic-related deaths in 2020.
That’s a significant risk. Car crashes don’t discriminate based on age, either. An accident is just as likely to be fatal to a young parent as an older adult like Jordan. All it takes is the wrong combination of circumstances or a negligent driver to end someone’s life forever.
The Impact of an Unexpected Death
If you’ve lost someone in a car accident, you’re already deeply familiar with the pain and grief it causes. However, a loved one’s death can cause many other problems for you and your family beyond the emotional distress of loss of companionship. You may also struggle with issues such as the following:
Medical and Funeral Costs
The most immediate impact of your loved one’s death is the need to pay for their funeral and any medical expenses they may have incurred before their death. Funerals are increasingly expensive, costing thousands of dollars on average. Many younger adults do not have plans in place to cover their funeral costs because they anticipate living for decades to come, leaving families with a significant bill.
Medical costs can be even worse. Between the expense of an ambulance ride and unsuccessful life-saving treatments, the families of car accident victims can be faced with tens or hundreds of thousands in bills that aren’t covered by their health insurance.
Loss of Income
California is an increasingly expensive state. Many families require multiple incomes to maintain their standard of living. If you lose a loved one to a car crash, you lose their income, too. That can be a disaster, particularly if they were the primary income earner. Without those funds, you may struggle to pay the bills and keep your home.
Loss of Services and Assistance
Family members who don’t contribute financially still contribute in other ways. The death of a stay-at-home parent means that the surviving parent must find and pay for childcare in addition to losing their partner.
This can also include loss of guidance. It takes a village to raise a child, and losing a parent can have a lifelong impact on your kids. They will never benefit from the lessons, guidance, and nurturing they would have received if it weren’t for the accident. That has as much or more value as any financial loss, and it should be acknowledged after your loved one’s death.
The Value of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
These types of losses are why wrongful death lawsuits are so important after fatal crashes. If your loved one died because of another driver’s negligence, they are responsible for both the economic and non-economic losses you’ve suffered. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit on your loved one’s behalf, you can hold the other driver accountable for their actions.
When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you’re making a civil claim against the defendant, arguing that they are liable, or responsible, for your losses. This is separate from any criminal charges, so you can pursue a civil case regardless of whether you’re pressing charges. In your civil case, you must demonstrate through a preponderance of the evidence that the other person was at least partly responsible for the accident.
Suppose you can show that they are more likely than not to be responsible. In that case, you may be awarded damages such as a percentage of your loved one’s lost income, medical and funeral expenses, financial compensation for non-economic losses, and even punitive damages if the other driver was being reckless. This does not make up for the loss of your loved one, but it can mitigate the financial impact of their death and give you space to grieve without financial burdens.
Hold Negligent Drivers Accountable for Their Actions
Jordan’s death demonstrates that not even the safest driver is immune from accidents. If you’ve lost a loved one to someone else’s mistakes on the road, you can and should hold them accountable for their actions. At The Ellis Firm, APLC, we are prepared to help you take action against the negligent driver who took your loved one from you. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can help you file your claim.