Wyoming Highways Among the Deadliest in the Nation
The highways in Wyoming are often wide open, offering both freedom to maneuver and space to enjoy the majestic scenery. Tragically, even on Wyoming’s relatively open highways, serious and fatal auto accidents occur with some regularity. In fact, despite being the nation’s least populated state, we see more fatal auto accidents than nearly any other state in the country.
According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, there were 118 fatal motor vehicle accidents in our state in 2022. These resulted in 134 fatalities, continuing a trend that has become increasingly worrisome and cementing Wyoming’s highways as some of the deadliest in the nation.
Wyoming ranks second in the nation for deadly collisions, with 22 deaths per 100,000 miles traveled. This is nearly twice the national average of 11.7 deaths using the same metrics. Only Mississippi, with 25.4 deaths per 100,000 miles traveled, sees more fatal accidents. A majority of the fatal motor vehicle accidents in Wyoming during this study, 71 percent, involved alcohol impairment.
According to 2021 statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (the most recent year with full statistics), there were 110 fatal crashes in Wyoming. Of these, 62 percent were single-vehicle crashes, the fourth highest rate for this type of accident in the nation. That same year, 47 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involved an SUV or pickup truck, which is consistent with statistics from previous years as well.
Wyoming highways are among the deadliest in the nation; however, if you have lost a loved one, statistics are not nearly as important as justice. Burg Simpson is here to help. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers can assess your claim, review your options, and help you understand your rights. Call us at 307-527-7891 to schedule your FREE and confidential case review today. Located in Cody, we serve families throughout the state.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a type of legal claim that can be brought when a loved one’s death is caused by another person’s negligence or intentional misconduct. Auto accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death lawsuits in Wyoming, many revolving around cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Large truck crashes are less common in our state, but still account for a small percentage of these accidents as well.
The sudden loss of a loved one often leads to grief, depression, anxiety, and emotional challenges. Adding to this are the funeral expenses, medical bills, and loss of income that frequently result in significant financial hardships. All of these things can be compounded by the void left when a loving companion is torn from their family.
The Wyoming wrongful death lawyers at Burg Simpson have decades of combined experience helping families navigate the complex legal and emotional consequences of untimely death. We are here to listen, provide clear and actionable advice, and fight for the justice your family deserves.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, a personal representative—designated by a will or court appointment—is the first person entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This person represents all involved parties and works to protect the legal rights of the beneficiaries (see Wyoming Statutes § 1-38-104). However, when a personal representative is unavailable, a wrongful death claim may be filed by:
Spouses can seek compensation for loss of companionship, consortium, financial support, and more, however, this right is extended only to legal spouses. Wyoming does not recognize “common law” or “domestic partnerships.”
The deceased’s children, including adopted and step-children, are eligible to file if there is no personal representative or surviving spouse. Dependents can pursue compensation for the loss of parental guidance, affection, and care, in addition to financial support.
Parents of the deceased can file a claim if there is no personal representative, surviving spouse, or children. This is most common in cases where the victim is a minor.
In the absence of the above-listed relatives, siblings of the deceased may file a claim.
Siblings might seek compensation for the loss of familial relationships and emotional support, in addition to any financial losses they have incurred.
Not everyone who loved or was loved by the victim of a fatal motor vehicle accident can take legal action. Many, however, can. The best way to learn if you are entitled to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is through a one-on-one consultation with an experienced attorney.
The Wyoming wrongful death attorneys at our firm are prepared to review your case free of cost and obligation to help you understand your rights.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Wyoming?
Generally speaking, you have two years from the date of a loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death claim in Wyoming (see Wyoming Statutes § 1-38-102). It is best to speak with a wrongful death lawyer long before this time approaches.
The grief and shock following the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, this can allow essential legal details to be overlooked. Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible helps to preserve your rights and options.
The wrongful death lawyers at Burg Simpson are here to help you navigate both the emotional landscape and legalities of wrongful death. With swift action and genuine compassion, we will work to ensure the pursuit of justice for your loved one is handled with the care, dedication, and empathy it deserves.
What Is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
It is impossible to place a price on the value of a loved one’s life, but some considerations can help to calculate the value of a wrongful death claim. These include:
- Economic Damages. These damages are quantifiable and have a direct monetary value. They might include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of current and future earnings, loss of 401k and retirement benefits, and more.
- Non-Economic Damages. These damages do not have a direct monetary value. They reflect more intangible losses such as loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of guidance, and emotional turmoil such as stress, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
- Punitive Damages. When a wrongful act was particularly malicious or reckless, additional damages to punish the responsible party may be awarded.
Each wrongful death case is unique. It is best to consult with one of our knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys to understand what you may be entitled to.
Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Wrongful death claims are never easy. They are even more complex in states like Wyoming, where the laws governing these claims do not always seem to favor victims. Insurance companies and defense attorneys understand these laws. If you file suit, you can be sure they will attempt to leverage their knowledge against you to decrease or deny your settlement. Having your own legal counsel is essential for protecting your rights and interests.
Equally important, the compensation you receive for your loss must be commensurate with its emotional and financial weight. While no amount of money can replace your loved one, financial compensation can alleviate some of the practical burdens that are bound to follow your loss. Attempting to handle a wrongful death case on your own may lead to overlooked details or missed opportunities for compensation.
At Burg Simpson, we recognize the profound emotional trauma and confusion that accompany the sudden loss of a loved one. We are prepared to work tirelessly to ease the burden and legal complexities adding stress to this already painful time. Experienced litigators and adept negotiators, our lawyers work to demystify the legal process, help you understand your options, and guide you toward the best outcome.
We truly understand the weight of your loss. We are here to stand by your side and shoulder the burden of the legal process, enabling you to focus on the grieving process and heal.
Our Wyoming Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here to Help
For a complimentary review of your claim, contact Burg Simpson today. Located in Cody, our wrongful death attorneys serve families living throughout the state.