Fatal Car Accidents
It is difficult enough to cope with the death of someone close to you when you can prepare for the loss. But when someone is gone from your life in an instant, it is traumatic and devastating. Sadly, car accidents constitute one of the primary causes of accidental deaths across the nation. If a crash in Queens has taken the life of your loved one, you may be able to pursue legal action. A car accident attorney at the Cassisi Law Firm can explore the details of your situation and decide whether you have a claim. We have helped many families hold careless people and companies accountable for tragic losses.Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Fatal Car Crash
In 2012, there were over 1,000 vehicle crashes in the state of New York, resulting in 1,163 deaths. When a fatal car accident is caused by someone’s negligence, whoever caused the collision may be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
This type of claim may be brought when another driver causes an accident by driving negligently or recklessly. For example, he or she might have ignored a posted speed limit, a traffic light, or a yield sign. Or the motorist might have broken the New York state law against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A wrongful death claim must be filed by the “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate. This person can seek to recover damages on behalf of certain family members, such as the spouse and children of the deceased. An action must be brought within two years of the death to preserve the family’s right to compensation.
The right to recovery in this lawsuit is established much as it is in other negligence claims. Essentially, wrongful death can be shown when a death is caused by the defendant’s careless conduct, and when the deceased person could have brought a lawsuit based on the accident if he or she had not died. The relatives also must have incurred damages as a result of losing their loved one.
Since the plaintiff is not the injured party, different damages are available than in other types of negligence lawsuits. The estate of a deceased person can sue to recover:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses for treating the deceased prior to death
- Pain and suffering consciously endured by the deceased prior to death
- The value of lost income and support that the deceased provided
- The value of lost services, such as care and guidance, that the deceased provided
- Any inheritance lost by the children
- Punitive damages, if the defendant’s action was especially egregious
It is important to remember that these damages, although they benefit the survivors, are based on the losses caused by the death. Plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits cannot recover for their own suffering or mental anguish, no matter how much the loss affected them.Discuss Your Accident Case With a Compassionate New York Attorney
Monetary damages can never compensate you for a loved one’s death, but they can alleviate the very real financial problems caused by your loss. If someone you love has been killed in a fatal car crash, you can trust a New York accident lawyer at the Cassisi Law Firm to zealously assert your rights. We have over three decades of experience representing individual clients in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Contact our firm at (718) 441-5050, or use our online form to set up a free, confidential consultation to find out if you may be entitled to compensation.