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Fatal Accident Lawyers

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Home / Practice Areas / Car Accident / Fatal Car Accident

Here When You Need Us The Most

Experiencing the wrongful death of a loved one in a fatal car accident impacts your life forever in multiple ways. Besides the deep grief, you feel over the loss of your family member in an automobile accident, you’re also facing enormous expenses. Some of these include the medical expenses your loved one incurred prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, and living without his or her income. We understand this can be enormously stressful and that grief can make it difficult for you to know and understand your options.

While nothing can bring your family member back to you, working with a car accident attorney at Raphaelson & Levine can provide you with valuable peace of mind.

We will aggressively pursue maximum compensation for your auto accident wrongful death case. This will help you pay expenses already incurred along with future expenses and compensation for the loss of his or her income if applicable.

We invite you to contact us today at 212-268-3222 to request a free consultation to learn more about pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in New York. Your car accident attorney will also ask several questions about how the car crash happened. Although we know it’s difficult for you to talk about, be prepared to discuss whether the auto accident caused immediate death or your family member lived for a time before eventually succumbing to his or her serious injuries. This makes a difference in the types of compensation we pursue in your settlement offer or court trial.

Andrew Levine discusses his dedication and passion for NY accident victims: “While The Voice of the Injured is our motto, it’s also the reality of what we live every day.”

Common Causes of Car Accident Fatalities

Car accident injuries and deaths happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the leading car crash causes include:

  • Distracted driving: Whether it’s texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating, turning to look at passengers, changing the radio station, or another distraction, a driver taking his or her eyes off the road for even a second can have deadly consequences.
  • Drunk driving: Alcohol and all classifications of drugs, legal or otherwise, can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time. In New York, a driver is legally impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent.
  • Reckless driving: This can include several irresponsible behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, running red lights, driving the wrong way, and making unsafe lane changes.
  • Road conditions: Encountering potholes and construction sites can be frustrating, but drivers must still exercise caution to avoid a motor vehicle accident. 
  • Sleep deprivation: Trying to operate a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds while sleep deprived is often a recipe for disaster. This is especially common among commercial truck drivers. Accidents caused by sleep-deprived construction truck drivers occur far too often even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has several laws in place to prevent this. 
  • Vehicle defect: It’s not always the other driver responsible for car accident injuries and wrongful death. Sometimes the vehicle manufacturer acts in a negligent manner by producing vehicles with known safety hazards. Determining who to present your car accident lawsuit can be challenging and requires the investigative skills of an experienced personal injury attorney.
  • Weather conditions: It can be challenging to drive in the rain, sleet, snow, heavy winds, and other typical weather conditions in NY. However, every driver must take extra precautions during inclement weather or refrain from driving until the weather improves to ensure the safety of all New York residents. 
  • Animal crossings: A large animal such as a deer crossing the road can cause any driver to panic. This can result in swerving to avoid hitting the animal and hitting another motorist instead. All New York drivers must understand best practices when encountering an animal on the road and take the necessary precautions to avoid a car crash.

You are welcome to meet with a personal injury lawyer at Raphaelson & Levine whether you see the cause of your loved one’s accident listed here or not. Our law firm is pleased to represent all car accident victims and their families in the case of a fatal car crash.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New York

Before you can file a wrongful death case in New York, the state requires that you meet all criteria outlined in New York Estates, Power, and Trusts Code 4. Here are the five criteria:

  • A death occurred.
  • It meets the classification of wrongful death due to the conduct of the defendant.
  • The family member is initiating the claim on behalf of the deceased who could have filed a personal injury lawsuit if the accident had not been fatal.
  • One or more loved ones of the deceased have suffered an economic loss due to the wrongful death.
  • The estate has recoverable damages.

NY wrongful death law requires the family to name a personal representative to sue the other party on behalf of the deceased. This is different from most states that allow a family member to initiate the claim. The only exception to this New York law is when the family member is also a personal representative of the estate belonging to the deceased.

Regardless of who initiates the wrongful death claim, NY law allows beneficiaries and heirs to seek damages in addition to the estate. If awarded, the money goes to the personal representative to distribute among each close family member of the deceased.

Under the statute of limitations in New York, the personal representative must file the wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date your loved one died.

Damages You Could Receive in a New York Wrongful Death Claim

Because each fatal car accident claim is unique, it’s difficult for a personal injury attorney at our law firm to tell you in advance the types of damages you could receive.

However, the following are common in a car accident claim resulting in death:

  • Reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses.
  • Reasonable reimbursement of medical bills and services your loved one required prior to passing away from the car accident injuries.
  • Wages and other employment benefits the deceased person did not receive between the time of the car crash and his or her death. Your family member’s earning capacity also comes into play when negotiating a settlement offer. 
  • Estimated financial value of the services your deceased family member contributed to the household such as childcare and home maintenance.
  • If your family member has surviving minor children, compensation for the care, guidance, and nurturing he or she can no longer provide.
  • Reimbursement for the inheritance that surviving children would have received regardless of age.
  • Pain and suffering your loved one endured while conscious after the automobile accident.
  • Interest on damages calculated from the date of death.

Unfortunately, wrongful death laws in NY don’t allow surviving family members to sue for their own damages such as emotional anguish, pain, and suffering, or loss of companionship. This is true even if the fatal accident victim was a child. The law does allow some compensation for household services the child may have contributed. However, this portion of the settlement offer ends once the child would have become an adult.

When is the Best Time to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Considering that you have just 24 months to file a wrongful death claim in your loved one’s car accident case, we recommend that you schedule your free consultation with Raphaelson & Levine as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that insurance companies begin building their case immediately and aren’t necessarily concerned with fairness in fatal accidents. Instead, the insurance company is most likely to offer you the lowest payout possible in hopes that you will accept it and not pursue a fatal accident lawsuit.

Your auto accident attorney from Raphaelson & Levine will use all available resources to prove that the other party bears complete responsibility for causing the fatal car crash. We attempt to reach a settlement offer with the insurance company whenever possible. It’s only when those negotiations fail that we bring your wrongful death lawsuit to an NYC court. In court, we may call expert medical witnesses, accident reconstruction specialists, and witnesses to the accident to prove the liability of the other motorist.

Whether your loved one was involved in a truck accident, struck by a drunk driver, or experienced another type of car wreck, we don’t recommend that you attempt to sue an insurance company on your own. As a well-regarded personal injury law firm in NYC, Raphaelson & Levine employs attorneys with years of experience to help your family received maximum financial compensation at this very difficult time.

Why Choose Raphaelson & Levine to Handle Your Wrongful Death Claim

At Raphaelson & Levine, we are proud of our reputation as a “voice for the injured.” This is evident in the recognition we have received such as the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. We have dozens of five-star ratings and are happy to provide you with client testimonials. Since 1995, our law firm has secured verdicts and settlement offers totaling more than $500 million dollars on behalf of our clients.

Insurance companies know and often fear the name Raphaelson & Levine. They understand we never accept lowball settlement offers and will never allow others to take advantage of our clients.

Besides offering a free case evaluation, our entire team of personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay a dime for our legal representation unless and until we secure a favorable settlement offer in your wrongful death case.

We Handle All Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Car wrecks are responsible for thousands of wrongful death claims in NYC every year. However, our personal injury lawyers handle many other types of cases as well. Perhaps you lost your family member due to medical treatment negligence, assault, or lack of proper supervision. Whatever the situation, we are eager to help with all types of personal injury cases. This includes those that did and did not result in wrongful death. If you personally suffered disfigurement, broken bones, brain injury, or even property damage, we are here for you.

Request a Free Consultation from Our Fatal Car Accident Lawyers Today

You have already been through one of life’s most difficult and tragic experiences with the sudden loss of your family member in a car accident. You don’t need additional stress by trying to represent yourself with insurance adjusters or hiring an inexperienced law firm.

We want you to know that Raphaelson & Levine is profoundly sorry for your loss and want to help the best we can. Please contact us today at 212-268-3222 to reserve your free consultation.

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