NYC Auto Accident Wrongful Death Lawyers

Wrongful Death in Car Accidents

Losing a loved one in a tragic accident affects the entire family. A wrongful death claim is a civil case in which the survivors of a person killed by another party’s negligence — for instance, in a car accident — seek compensation from the negligent party. One way to think of a wrongful death claim is that it is like a personal injury claim, but because the injured person is no longer able to pursue justice, a family member or another party must step in to do so.

If you are struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, your energy is best spent taking care of those you love and focusing on your own emotional needs — not fighting an insurance company. Schedule a free consultation with the NYC wrongful death attorneys at Zlotolow & Associates to learn how we can help.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In a wrongful death claim, survivors file a civil lawsuit seeking damages against one or more parties whose negligence allegedly caused the death. Often, a car accident causing death serves as the basis of the wrongful death claim.

In New York, five elements must be met to establish a wrongful death claim under state law:

  • A death occurred.
  • The death was caused by the defendant’s wrongful conduct.
  • If the victim had lived, he or she could have brought a claim to court.
  • One or more survivors have suffered a loss as a result of the death.
  • There are damages that can be recovered by the estate.

The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is typically the person who files a wrongful death claim in New York. A family member may not bring a wrongful death claim unless he or she is also serving as the personal representative. However, compensation recovered in a wrongful death claim is paid to the estate, and eventually surviving heirs.

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What Can a New York City Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawyer Do for Us?

After the loss of a loved one in an auto accident, your head may be spinning. You may find yourself struggling to handle all the tasks that follow a death while carrying the weight of your own grief. Family members and friends may need you more than ever, not realizing that you also need someone to take the load off your shoulders. You may wonder how you will pay medical bills or other expenses if you have lost the family breadwinner, or how you will ensure that household chores and childcare are taken care of if you have lost someone who put significant time and effort into those contributions for the family.

When you work with our experienced wrongful death accident lawyers, you gain an ally who can:

  • Ensure you understand the claims process. Insurance company jargon and processes can be confusing, especially if you are unfamiliar with them. Our experienced lawyer will take the time to make sure you understand the process and the steps you can take to protect your rights and build a strong claim for compensation.
  • Manage the investigation and development of your case. When our experienced law firm takes your case, our team typically moves quickly to gather information, talk to witnesses, and investigate the details of the accident. We focus on gathering the information that will build the strongest possible claim for compensation, whether in negotiations with an insurance company or before a court.
  • Pursue the results that matter to you. Different people have different motivations when it comes to filing a wrongful death claim. Some families simply want the full and fair compensation they need to rebuild their lives and move forward after an unexpected tragedy. Others are intent on holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. Our compassionate lawyers understand that your desires matter. We will take the time to understand what you want to achieve and work toward that goal.
  • Deal with insurance companies on your behalf. When you work with our attorneys, we handle communication with the insurance company, with attorneys representing other parties, and with professionals who can help build your case. You don’t have to field stressful or frustrating phone calls from insurance companies — simply tell the caller to speak to your lawyer.
  • Make sure you don’t miss anything. New York wrongful death law includes several important deadlines, including a two-year “statute of limitations” on filing a wrongful death lawsuit in court. Our experienced lawyers are familiar with all of these deadlines and the circumstances that can affect them. We will keep an eye on the calendar to ensure you don’t miss a deadline that could have a devastating impact on your legal options.

Choosing a lawyer you feel you can trust is essential to the process of pursuing compensation for a wrongful death claim. Schedule a free consultation with our team today to discuss your situation.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim

When an injured person files a personal injury claim, they are seeking damages related to the injury itself, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. However, the damages in a wrongful death claim are different, and so compensation is treated a bit differently.

Compensation for wrongful death can be thought of as falling into one of two “categories”:

  • The first category is compensation for losses the estate suffered as a result of the death. These include costs like final medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and the value of support, services, and care that the deceased person provided to family members.
  • The second category is compensation for losses the family members suffered through the untimely death of their loved one. These include damages for pain and suffering the family endured, mental anguish, or loss of companionship.

Although damages can often be sorted into one of these two categories, New York wrongful death law tasks the personal representative with the responsibility of seeking both types of damages in court — even the damages that “belong” to the remaining family members to compensate them for their personal losses. The personal representative is expected to hold any compensation for the family’s losses “in trust” for the members of the family.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my case take?

The amount of time it takes to resolve your case will depend on multiple factors. First, it is important that you take the time you need to heal. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, we will be able to estimate the extent of your damages. Second, you are the one who decides when you want to settle or go to court. Our attorneys will present you with every settlement offer and explain whether we feel you are owed more. We will negotiate aggressively and be prepared to take your claim before a judge and jury, if necessary. But a lawsuit does take time, and it is ultimately your decision on how you want to proceed.

What will my lawyer handle for me?

Our full-service personal injury law firm will handle all aspects of your claim, including communicating with the insurance company, filing your property damage claim, and keeping track of your medical records. We will also launch our own investigation into the cause of your accident to identify every possible source of compensation. And we will bring in medical experts and financial professionals to help evaluate your claim and determine what full and fair compensation should be.

What will I have to do for my personal injury case?

You need to stay focused on your health. Make sure you follow your doctor’s orders and make it to all your appointments. Start a journal to document how your injury is affecting your everyday life, both physically and emotionally. And protect your privacy by taking a break from social media and not talking about your case.

Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

Some of the top major risk factors for fatal car accidents include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
  • Failure to stay in the proper lane
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Reckless driving
  • Overcorrecting
  • Failure to adjust speed or driving style to roadway conditions
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Failure to account for an obstruction in the road like construction
  • Driving without required equipment
  • Improper turns

No matter what type of negligence caused your loved one’s unexpected death, you need to know your legal rights. Contact our car accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation about how to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident

Choose New York City Wrongful Death Lawyers Who Will Fight for Your Family

The team at Zlotolow & Associates has worked for more than two decades to fight for the compensation our clients deserve. We have seen the devastation a wrongful death from a car accident can cause, and we are committed to fighting for each of our clients, whether that means negotiating a fair settlement or preparing for trial.

To learn more about the help we can provide, contact our office today for a free, confidential consultation.

TALK TO US FOR FREE (212) 991-9750