Fatal Car Accidents
Car accidents can be deadly. A moment's inattention or a spark of road rage can be enough to cause a tragic loss to a person's family. Often, family members struggle after the death of a loved one, not only because of their grief but also because of the financial effects of losing a primary or secondary income. It may be possible to bring a wrongful death action after a fatal car accident caused by a distracted driver, a drunk driver, or someone else who was acting carelessly. While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, it can help to have some compensation to take care of practical matters, such as paying a mortgage or covering a child’s educational needs. Our New York City fatal car accident lawyers can advise you on your options in these situations and advocate for you if you bring a claim.Taking Legal Action After a Fatal Car Accident
A wrongful death claim can arise from a fatal car accident caused by someone other than the decedent. Car accidents that can result in death may include head-on collisions, side-impact crashes, rear-end collisions, SUV rollovers, and highway accidents. In some cases, the decedent dies right away, while in other cases, the decedent suffers serious injuries but lives for a period of time in the hospital before passing away. Often, family members are left with medical bills, funeral expenses, and the loss of financial contributions by the decedent.
To recover compensation for wrongful death after a fatal car accident in New York, you must be a beneficiary of the decedent under the wrongful death law. Close family members, such as a spouse, children, and parents, may be eligible for wrongful death damages. A fatal car accident attorney in New York City can help you establish your right to recover damages, as well as the negligence or recklessness of the driver or other party who caused your loved one's death.
In most cases, you can recover damages by proving negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant owed a duty to drive with ordinary prudence, the defendant breached this duty, and there was causation and actual damages. A defendant driver may breach the duty to use reasonable care by driving drunk, texting while driving, racing, talking on the phone, eating while driving, talking to passengers in the back seat, or caring for small children rather than paying attention to the road.
If your New York City fatal car accident attorney can establish that the defendant driver was negligent, you can recover damages for the wrongful death of a loved one through a civil lawsuit. These may include medical costs, funeral costs, lost wages, lost benefits, loss of inheritance, loss of consortium, and loss of support and services. If the defendant's actions are found to be outrageous, punitive damages may be available. They are meant to punish a defendant for outrageous or egregious actions and deter others from doing the same thing. For example, punitive damages may be available to punish a drunk driver who causes the death of your loved one.
If your loved one was partially to blame, your damages will be reduced according to their percentage of fault under the doctrine of comparative negligence. For example, if the decedent was weaving through traffic and encountered a distracted driver who crashed into him, it is possible that the jury will find the decedent partially to blame.
In some cases, fatal car accidents are the fault of someone other than another driver. For example, a property owner may be liable for a dangerous road condition that it failed to repair, or a manufacturer may be liable for a defective car part that resulted in a fatal car accident. In the former case, you may need to establish a premises liability case. In the latter case, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages by suing the manufacturer in a product liability lawsuit.Seek Assistance from a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in New York City
Newman, Anzalone & Newman provides effective legal representation for family members of people killed in fatal car accidents. We represent people in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or complete our online form for a free case evaluation. We can advise you about insurance issues and your next legal steps.