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New York City Fatal Car Accident Lawyers

New York City Fatal Car Accidents Lawyers

Family members who lose loved ones in car accidents face not only emotional grief, but oftentimes financial hardship as well. If your family member was killed in a car accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another, it is important to have a trusted car accident attorney by your side.

At The Orlow Firm, our attorneys help people who have lost loved ones in fatal accidents recover compensation for their financial and economic losses. We understand the hardships you are facing and will do everything in our power to help you obtain the maximum compensation you are entitled to under New York law.

Contact our NYC law firm today to speak with an experienced New York City fatal car accident lawyer.



Who Is Liable For A Fatal Death In A New York Car Accident?

In New York, liability for a fatal car accident can rest with one or multiple parties, depending on the circumstances leading up to the accident. Here are some parties that could potentially be held liable:

  1. Other Drivers: This is the most common scenario. If another driver’s negligence, recklessness, or unlawful behavior caused the accident, they could be held liable.
  2. Vehicle Manufacturers: If the accident was caused by a vehicle defect, such as faulty brakes or airbags, the vehicle manufacturer might be held liable for the fatality.
  3. Local Government or Municipalities: If poor road conditions, lack of proper signage, or faulty traffic lights contributed to the accident, the governing body responsible for road maintenance could be held liable.
  4. Employers: If the at-fault driver was operating a vehicle as part of their job duties, the employer could also be held responsible under the doctrine of “vicarious liability.”
  5. Owner of the Vehicle: If the owner of the vehicle was not the driver but had lent the vehicle to an incompetent or reckless driver, they might bear some responsibility.
  6. Bars or Restaurants: Under certain conditions, an establishment that served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who then caused a fatal accident may also be held liable under New York’s Dram Shop laws.
  7. Pedestrians or Cyclists: While less common, a pedestrian or cyclist’s actions can sometimes contribute to an accident. In such cases, they could also be held partially or wholly liable.

Determining liability often involves a thorough investigation that may include police reports, witness statements, expert testimony, and more. Given the complexity and stakes involved, consulting with an experienced attorney specializing in wrongful death claims is highly recommended.

Who Can Make a Claim on Behalf of the Deceased in a Fatal New York Car Accident?

In New York, the legal representative of the deceased’s estate is typically the person who can file a wrongful death claim. This representative is often named in the deceased’s will or estate plan and is usually a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, or adult child. If no estate plan exists, or if the named executor is unable or unwilling to serve, the court can appoint a legal representative, which is commonly a close relative.

It’s important to note that while the legal representative is the one to file the claim, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate and any eligible beneficiaries. Beneficiaries often include the deceased’s spouse, children, and sometimes parents or siblings, depending on the specific circumstances.

The wrongful death claim seeks to recover damages that go to the estate and can be distributed to family members according to New York’s laws of succession or as directed by a will. Therefore, while the legal representative initiates the lawsuit, the ultimate aim is to benefit those who were closely related to and financially dependent upon the deceased.

Settlement Offers From Insurance Companies

Accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company before speaking with an experienced attorney could significantly impact your rights and the level of compensation you could receive. Insurance companies often aim to minimize their payouts, so they may offer settlements that are far lower than the actual damages you have incurred. Fatal accidents, especially, involve complex legal and financial considerations that may be challenging to navigate without legal expertise. This could include future loss of income and emotional suffering, among other losses.

Once a settlement is accepted, you generally cannot pursue any further legal action related to the accident. If additional expenses or complications arise in the future, you’re usually precluded from claiming further compensation. Moreover, there may be multiple parties liable for the accident, and accepting a settlement from one could affect your ability to hold others responsible.

Settlement agreements often contain legal jargon that could have hidden implications. Without the guidance of an attorney, you may unwittingly agree to terms that are not in your best interest. While there is a statute of limitations that restricts the timeframe within which you can file a claim, rushing into a settlement is not advisable. An attorney can ensure all necessary actions fall within legal timelines, prepare for the possibility of trial, and provide the negotiation skills needed to deal with insurance companies effectively. For these reasons, consulting with an attorney skilled in wrongful death claims is crucial for securing the compensation you and your family deserve.

What Are New York’s Time Limits in Regards to Any Claims?

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally two years from the date of the deceased’s death. This means you have two years to initiate legal action; failure to do so within this time frame may result in the forfeiture of your right to claim compensation. However, there are important exceptions and nuances to consider:

  1. Cases Against Government Entities: If the claim is against a New York State or local government entity, special rules apply. Typically, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident, followed by the lawsuit within one year and 90 days from the date of the accident.
  2. Minor Children: If the only person eligible to file the wrongful death claim is a minor, the two-year statute of limitations generally doesn’t start running until the minor turns 18. However, another eligible adult may file the claim before that.
  3. Discovery Rule for Medical Malpractice: In cases involving medical malpractice leading to death, the two-year period might start from the date of the discovery of the malpractice, rather than the date of death. However, this is subject to certain limitations.

Given these complexities, it’s crucial to consult a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing important deadlines. Missing the statute of limitations can significantly impact your ability to secure compensation for your loss.

What Are The Stages of a New York Wrongful Death Case?

In a New York wrongful death case, the litigation process can be intricate and emotionally taxing. It begins with filing a wrongful death claim, typically by the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate. Here’s a general outline of what you can expect:

  1. Case Evaluation: The first step involves a detailed consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney to assess the merits of your case. This evaluation helps determine the potential for success and the types of damages you may be eligible to claim.
  2. Investigation and Evidence Gathering: The attorney will initiate a thorough investigation to collect all relevant evidence, such as police reports, medical records, and witness statements. Expert witnesses might also be consulted.
  3. Filing the Claim: The legal process officially starts when your attorney files a complaint against the defendant, who has a specific time to respond.
  4. Discovery Phase: This is the fact-finding part of the case where both sides gather information. As mentioned, discovery may involve interrogatories, document requests, and depositions. The evidence gathered here will often shape the direction of the case and could lead to pre-trial negotiations.
  5. Settlement Negotiations: Prior to trial, both parties often engage in settlement discussions. Many wrongful death cases are resolved in this phase without the need for a trial.
  6. Trial: If a settlement is not reached, the case moves to trial. Here, both sides present their arguments and evidence, and a judge or jury will determine liability and the amount of damages, if applicable.
  7. Post-Trial Motions and Appeals: Even after a verdict, there may be post-trial motions or an appeal, which could prolong the case further.
  8. Distribution of Damages: Once a verdict or settlement is finalized, the damages awarded will be distributed according to the deceased’s will or New York’s laws on intestate succession if there is no will.
  9. Closure and Ongoing Support: Finally, a successful wrongful death claim can bring some degree of closure to the grieving family and financial security for the future.

Consulting an experienced attorney is crucial to navigating the complexities of a wrongful death case effectively. Your attorney can offer specific guidance on your rights, potential damages, and the appropriate course of action based on the unique circumstances of your case.

What To Expect At A Trial:

If a wrongful death case in New York goes to trial, it signifies that both parties were unable to reach a settlement agreement, necessitating a more formal resolution in court. The trial process starts by selecting an impartial judge and jury who will be responsible for evaluating the case. Both sides will then present their opening statements, setting the stage for what is to follow.

The core part of the trial involves the examination and cross-examination of witnesses. In a wrongful death case, the types of witnesses called to the stand can vary widely but often include medical professionals, coroners, eyewitnesses, and sometimes even financial or occupational experts who can testify on the economic loss suffered due to the deceased’s untimely passing.

After all the evidence has been presented and witnesses have been examined, the attorneys for both sides will make their closing arguments. This is their last chance to convince the jury of their client’s position. The jury then enters into a deliberation phase where they discuss the facts of the case, review evidence, and ultimately arrive at a verdict.

The length of a trial can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the case, the availability of witnesses, and court schedules. It could be a matter of weeks, or it could extend over several months or even years in extreme cases. Throughout this period, your attorney plays a critical role in guiding you through the legal landscape, keeping you informed of developments, and advocating for your best interests.

How Often Do Fatal Accidents Happen in New York?

According to data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, hundreds of lives are lost every year due to motor vehicle-related accidents in the state. Factors contributing to these fatal accidents often include impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield the right-of-way, among other issues.

The frequency of fatal accidents not only underscores the risks inherent in daily commuting and travel but also highlights the critical need for effective legal representation for families who suffer from these tragic events. This is important for affected families not only in terms of seeking justice but also in securing financial stability during a challenging time.

Fatal Car Accidents Compensation Factors:

New York wrongful death statutes do not allow surviving family member to recover compensation for emotional grief and other non-economic hardships. However, those who have lost loved ones in fatal car accidents can recover compensation for economic losses such as:

  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of household services
  • Medical expenses related to the injury
  • Funeral expenses

Our attorneys offer skilled and compassionate representation to clients throughout New York who are coping with the loss of a loved one. We are dedicated to helping our clients achieve the compensation they deserve, and holding the responsible parties accountable.

Why Choose The Orlow Firm?

Choosing the right law firm for a wrongful death case is a decision that carries immense weight, and The Orlow Firm is a choice that aligns experience, compassion, and relentless advocacy for our clients. Our team possesses a deep understanding of New York’s complex wrongful death laws and has a proven track record of securing just compensation for the families we represent. We approach each case as if it were our own, striving for outcomes that can bring a measure of relief during the most difficult of times.

Our commitment goes beyond legal representation; we are dedicated to providing emotional support and guidance through every step of the process. We understand that no amount of money can replace your loved one, but a fair settlement can alleviate financial burdens and enable you to honor your loved one in the manner they deserve. When you choose The Orlow Firm, you’re not just getting a lawyer; you’re getting a devoted team that will stand by your side, fighting for justice and the compensation you deserve.

Moreover, our seasoned attorneys are well-versed in courtroom protocols and litigation strategies, in case your claim does go to trial. We have the resources to thoroughly investigate the accident, consult with expert witnesses, and build a compelling case on your behalf. You can expect full transparency, timely communication, and legal counsel tailored to your unique circumstances when you choose The Orlow Firm for your wrongful death case.

Contact The Orlow Firm

Have you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident? If so, contact our New York City car accident attorneys today for information regarding your legal rights.

Call (646) 647-3398 to speak with a lawyer at the Orlow Firm about your car accident case.