Death is not something we can always prepare for, and it can be more devastating when it’s the result of someone’s poor decision or negligent behavior. Those seeking wrongful death settlements after car accidents can seek some solace in the form of recovering losses.
Each car accident is unique, and death may be instantaneous or occur days later as the result of injuries sustained in the wreck. It doesn’t matter when the death occurs, the aftermath is the same – the family is left behind wondering how they will move on, perhaps including maintaining financial stability.
If you have found yourself in this situation, you should know more about your legal rights. Call Carner & DeVita at 631-543-7070 or contact us online. We are a Long Island wrongful death attorney and will fight to secure you a fair settlement or verdict.
The more you know, the better able you will be to determine if you have what is necessary for a successful wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
When you and your attorney file a wrongful death lawsuit in court, you are claiming that your loved one’s death was caused by negligence. The estate of the decedent has the legal right to file this type of lawsuit against the person or entity that is ultimately responsible for the death.
To file this type of suit, New York law states that the following requirements must be met:
- A person has died
- The negligence or wrongful conduct of another led to the death
- Had the victim survived, the negligent act or wrongful conduct could have been the subject of a lawsuit allowing the victim to recover damages
- Survivors have suffered damages due to the death
When these requirements are met, the estate of the decedent has two years from the date of the death to file a claim in court.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Every state allows for wrongful death lawsuits to be filed, but the laws surrounding who can file suit differ. In some instances, the next of kin is who files suit. In others, it is a representative of the estate. This is the case in New York: the personal representative of the estate is the person who is responsible for filing the lawsuit.
While the immediate family members of the decedent are not responsible for filing the lawsuit, they are entitled to recover damages. Priority in Long Island wrongful death lawsuits is given to the surviving spouse and dependent children, if any exist. When there is no spouse and no children, the damages may be awarded to:
- Parents of the decedent
- Siblings of the decedent
What qualifies as negligence?
A wrongful death lawsuit may stem from many incidents: medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and defective products, to name just a few. These lawsuits most often are the result of vehicle collisions. Your attorney will have to prove that the responsible party was negligent or behaved wrongfully. What counts as negligence?
- Driving while impaired
- Reckless operation
- Traffic violations
- Distracted driving
The truth is that there are dozens of actions that could be considered negligent in a car accident. You and your attorney will work to prove that the person you claim to be responsible acted in a manner that a reasonable person would not have.
What damages can be recovered?
It’s not unusual for potential clients to ask us what their case may be worth. The answer is not simple. While we cannot put a number on your case before we know all of the details and gather evidence, we are able to discuss the types of damages that may be awarded. These include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses passed on to the family
- Loss of the decedent’s wages and benefits
- Lost inheritance
- Value of support and services
- Value of parental care
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased
Chances are that you are entitled to more than one of these types of damage. Your legal advisor can help you determine what your family may be awarded in a settlement or verdict.
Carner & DeVita: Helping Long Islanders Seek Wrongful Death Settlements After Car Accidents
When a loved one has been lost due to the negligence of another, Carner & DeVita are here for you. We are highly experienced in the field of wrongful death and are not afraid to fight for what is right.
Call our office today at 631-543-7070 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. While no amount of money will replace your loved one, it can help you recover and feel a sense of justice after a tragic and avoidable death.