Car accidents introduce a significant amount of property damage into your life. More than that, though, these accidents can be fatal to the ones you love. If you lost a loved one in an auto accident, you need strong representation on your side to help you seek full compensation.
Morelli Law Firm believes that no one should have to experience undue suffering as a result of such a traumatic experience. That’s why our New York, NY, fatal car accident lawyers want to help you throughout your recovery. Let us help you seek damages and pursue justice in your case.
Fatal Accidents in New York
According to the New York Department of Health, from 2012 to 2014, there were approximately 1,098 road deaths per year in New York alone. The department attributes these deaths to drivers’ negligent or reckless behavior on the road.
The death of a loved one in a fatal accident is one of the most traumatic and overwhelming experiences anyone can go through. In situations like this, compensation can never replace your loss. That’s why we strive to treat your case with the sympathy and attention to detail that you deserve.
Making a Claim for Wrongful Death
To bring a wrongful death claim to light, you’ll need to establish liability for your family’s losses. A legal complaint can help you present information regarding liability and the extent of your losses to a county clerk.
Liability in a fatal car accident case doesn’t always fall to another driver on the road. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your losses, liable parties could include:
- Government officials
- Truck drivers and their parent companies
- Automobile manufacturers
- Auto mechanics
- Construction crews
The best way to establish liability is to look for evidence of fault. Both you and a NY fatal accident attorney can connect with witnesses, insurance representatives, and law enforcement to piece your story together.
Bringing a Claim Forward
Not everyone in a family can take legal action after the death of a loved one. It is important to know who bears the right to bring a wrongful death claim and how potential compensation may be assigned to the surviving family members.
New York law stipulates that in order to file a wrongful death claim, the family member bringing the claim must show that they are the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. You must, therefore, satisfy this criterion in order to file a successful claim.
Usually, the deceased’s will or testament names a representative of the estate, but if it does not, the court can appoint one. They will usually appoint a spouse or adult child as the personal representative of the estate. Then, this representative will disburse the compensation that the wrongful death claim may yield to the surviving family members.
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Settlements in Wrongful Death Cases
If your fatal car accident involves a commercial driver or truck, there’s a chance that a company may reach out to you with a settlement offer. Settlement offers cut to the heart of wrongful death cases in that they offer you compensation for your losses without the need to go to court.
Even so, not all settlement offers are issued out of the good of someone’s heart. Because settlement offers can keep civil cases out of court, they can reduce the consequences a commercial institution might otherwise face for their negligence. What’s more, they may not cover all your losses.
With that in mind, don’t accept a settlement offer out of hand. Take your offer to one of NY’s fatal car accident attorneys, instead. Our team can assess the offer and communication with commercial representatives on your behalf. These negotiations can see you walk away with more financial support or the means to carry your case to court.
Wrongful Death Compensation After a Fatal Car Accident
Recovering compensation can help you deal with the costs of recovering from an accident. We’ll help you assess what forms of financial support you may qualify for based on your loved one’s recorded losses.
The losses you may be entitled to vary based on the circumstances of your loved one’s death. For example, you can pursue the economic costs of a funeral and related medical care. However, loss of consortium may be more difficult to assign a dollar value to. This means you may need to refer to similar cases to come to your final estimate.
That said, our team is here to help. We can determine whether or not you qualify for compensation based on:
- Medical expenses incurred prior to a loved one’s passing
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Treatment of PTSD and long-term trauma
- Property damage
- Loss of wages
- Loss of opportunities for employment
You can discuss the specifics of your potential compensation during your initial case consultation.
New York’s Time Limit in Filing Your Case
If you want to file a wrongful death suit against another driver, you have two years to take action. New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts (EPT) 5-4.1 notes that this time period begins on the same day your loved one passes. As such, you have less time than you think you might to act on your family’s behalf.
This statute of limitations is notably shorter than the one offered in personal injury cases. That’s why our fatal car accident lawyers in NY move to quickly bring your wrongful death case before a county clerk. Failure to initiate a claim within the timeframe laid out in the statute of limitations may limit your ability to seek justice and compensation for your loss.
What to Expect from a NY Wrongful Death Case
After you’ve filed a wrongful death claim, it’s up to you, a personal injury attorney, and the defendant to determine how you want to proceed. Whether you want to address your case through negotiations or a trial, you’ll undergo the discovery process.
Discovery allows both you and the defendant to gather documents regarding assertions of liability. You may also develop your interrogatories or file a request for admissions. Finally, you may compose and deliver your deposition testimony, stating your case outside of court in the presence of all parties and a court reporter.
At this point, negotiations may resolve your case. However, if the case needs to move forward to trial, you can consult your attorney regarding your next steps.
Going to a Fatal Accident Trial
If your wrongful death case does go to trial, New York civil courts will need time to bring a judge and jury on board. With the right people in place, you and an attorney can proceed with your opening statements.
Only after you’ve completed opening statements can an attorney call forward witnesses or engage in cross-examinations. In a wrongful death case, you can call on professional witnesses, including coroners, and medical staff, to elaborate on the deceased’s losses.
Once you’ve completed an assessment of witness statements, attorneys can issue their closing arguments. Juries will proceed with their deliberation and deliver their verdict as they are able. These trials can take a matter of weeks or even years, depending on the circumstances surrounding a person’s death. A lawyer can keep you up to date on developments as needed.
Consider Speaking With a New York Fatal Accident Lawyer Today
The death of a loved one is always a traumatic experience. These circumstances grow more trying when it appears negligence or deliberately-reckless behavior contributed to a family’s loss. You are not resigned to recovery paired with unanswered grief, though. Instead, New York law recognizes and protects families enduring a wrongful death.
The New York, NY, fatal car accident lawyers with Morelli Law Firm can do more than help you recover from an accident. We can help you fight for compensation based on your family’s losses. To schedule your free case evaluation, you can call or use our online form to contact an office representative.