Fatal Car Accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020, 38,824 people in the United States died of injuries sustained in a motor-vehicle accident. In New York State that year, 963 people died in car crashes.
Causes of Fatal Car Accidents
Common causes of fatal car accidents include:
- Intoxicated Drivers: Drivers who choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol endanger lives.
- Reckless Driving: Speed limits, traffic signals, and lane restrictions create an orderly flow of traffic. When drivers choose to ignore the rules of the road and cause deadly accidents, they may be held accountable by surviving family members in a wrongful death action.
- Distracted Driving: By now, it should be common knowledge that using cell phones and other devices while driving reduces reaction time and heightens the risk of injury and death on the road.
- Defective Vehicle Parts or Products: Car parts, such as brakes and steering systems, can sometimes fail, leading to life-threatening situations. This can happen because a mechanical part was designed or manufactured defective or was neglected by the vehicle’s owner.
- Hazardous Roads: Road conditions can play a role in a wrongful-death case. A road that’s poorly maintained can be dangerous. Such potential dangers include potholes, bumpy or unstable surfaces, and missing or defective traffic signals and signage.
Other common causes of car accidents are driver drowsiness, inexperienced drivers, and aggressive driving.
What is a Wrongful-Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death can occur when someone’s negligence or recklessness leads to the death of another person. For instance, a death caused by a driver who is texting or drunk most likely will be considered a wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful-Death Lawsuit After a Fatal Accident?
When someone’s negligent or careless actions behind the wheel cause another person to suffer fatal injuries, a wrongful-death claim may be in order.
The purpose of a wrongful-death claim, or lawsuit, is to compensate surviving family members or dependents for various losses resulting from their loved one’s death.
In a wrongful-death car-accident case, the “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate can file such a claim. In New York, that representative is appointed by Surrogate’s Court and can be a spouse or immediate family member. Liable parties in wrongful-death cases can include:
- the driver of the vehicle that fatally injured the deceased person;
- a government agency or municipality that failed to maintain the road; and
- a company, such as a manufacturer responsible for defective vehicle parts.
In New York, a wrongful-death claim must be filed by a particular time, usually within two years from the death in question, according to New York’s current statute of limitations. Every situation is unique, requiring careful analysis and consideration.
William Mattar, P.C., Can Help After a Fatal Car Accident
If you lost a loved one due to a fatal car accident and are entitled to benefits in a wrongful death claim, you may be looking for an experienced car accident attorney. The lawyers at William Mattar, P.C., can review your case and help determine how you can obtain maximum compensation. To contact us, dial (844) 444-4444, or fill out our free initial consultation form.