Can You Sue After a Fatal Car Accident in New York?

By Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.Auto Accident

Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is devastating. New York law allows you to sue for wrongful death. Your time to do so is limited by law, and when it comes to taking legal action, there is much to do. Understandably, time gets away from us during grief. Retaining experienced car accident attorneys as early as possible is a vital step to secure your rights under New York law.

Car Accident Fatalities in New York

New York is the seventh most deadly state in the nation in terms of fatal car accidents, according to data gathered by the National Highway Safety Administration. The NHSA studied crashes nationwide from 2010 to 2019 and found that, on average, 1,087 died in fatal car accidents in New York State annually.

While the number of deaths in New York has gone down from previous decades, it continues to rank high compared to other states. The highest concentration of accidents occurred in New York City, NHSA found.

Slightly more than half of accidents during the study period were caused by drunk driving and speeding, according to the NHSA.

Common Causes of Deadly Car Accidents

Some of the most common causes of fatal auto accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Traffic infractions 
  • Mechanical failure
  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving impaired by drugs or alcohol

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York City

After a fatal car crash, a personal representative (executor) may file a wrongful death action in New York State, including New York City, where accident rates are highest. Special papers must be filed to represent minor children. The New York Estate Powers & Trust Law has a two-year time limit for bringing a wrongful death action anywhere in the state. The two-year period begins on the day of the person’s death.

A lawsuit against the City of New York involves special concerns; a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the death. New York wrongful death lawyers at KGG Law can play an essential role in advising you and in navigating these legal steps on your behalf after a fatal car accident.

Who Is Liable for a DUI Accident?

When a fatal accident occurs, liability may extend beyond the driver and implicate other potential defendants. For example, mechanical failure can result from a manufacturer’s defective product.

In accidents involving drunk driving, liability for the wrongful death may include the business that sold alcohol to the driver. Liability also extends to social hosts who serve alcohol to underage drinkers.

How Much Compensation Can Be Recovered?

There is no cap on damages in a wrongful death action in New York. In a wrongful death case after a fatal car crash, the judge or jury may consider your family’s social and financial losses. They may also punish the driver who took your loved one’s life by awarding punitive damages.

Damages may be recovered for the pain and suffering of your loved one who died in the crash. However, New York law does not permit family members to recover damages for their own mental suffering that results from the loss of their loved one. They may only recover compensatory damages.

At KGG Law, our personal injury attorneys have deep experience in calculating and proving damages recoverable in New York:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral costs
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of decedent’s future earnings
  • Loss of potential parental guidance
  • Anguish suffered by your loved one in the fatal accident
  • Interest calculated from the date of death for compensatory damages
  • Egregious conduct by the defendant warranting an award of punitive damages

How the Lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman Can Help

After the trauma of a fatal car accident in your family, you want lawyers you can trust. Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman has deep roots in Rockland County and Bergen County. As a Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Law Firm, we’ve taken numerous wrongful death cases to trial in New York and also settled many cases successfully. Over decades, we’ve built an impeccable regional reputation for client-focused advocacy that gets results.

We appreciate the trust our clients place in us. We know you’ve been traumatized and recognize how important the wrongful death case is to you. At KGG Law, our clients are family to us. Leave the legal headaches of a wrongful death suit to us; we’ll do the hard work so you can get the compensation you deserve.

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