Fatal Car Accidents
Dedicated New York Lawyers for Victims of Motor Vehicle Collisions
People spend a lot of time traveling in cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. Understandably, highway collisions are the most common cause of accidental injury and death in New York. Speeding, drunken drivers, distracted motorists, or other forms of negligence can result in the untimely loss of a motorist, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist. For more than a decade, the Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC has provided capable legal representation to the victims of motor vehicle collisions and their surviving relatives in New York. Our seasoned attorneys provide diligent service to individuals who were hurt and the family members of those who were tragically killed in car accidents. We proudly serve clients from across the five boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, as well as the communities of Rockland, and Long Island.
Assert Your Rights after a Fatal Accident
The State Department of Motor Vehicles found that nearly 1,200 people were killed in car crashes that were reported to authorities in New York in 2012. Driver inattention, failure to yield, following too closely, and excessive speed were the leading causes of lethal and other motor vehicle collisions that occurred in the state that year.
Proving fault following a serious automobile accident can be difficult. Most personal injury lawsuits are based on a theory of negligence. In the context of a car crash, this case usually starts by showing that a driver failed to exercise the same level of care that a reasonably prudent person would use in similar circumstances. In order to prove negligence following a deadly car accident, the decedent’s surviving relatives must offer evidence demonstrating that the motorist who caused the victim’s death owed their loved one a duty of care, the driver breached that duty, and the breach directly resulted in a tragic loss of life. When the driver has suffered a fatality, he or she is unable to tell what happened. Our wrongful death attorneys are experts in analyzing evidence, including line of sight evidence, police report accident investigations, crime scene photos, skid marks, crash patterns, and other physical evidence to prove how the accident happened and who was at fault. Our lawyers often work closely with some of the best accident reconstruction experts in the State.
To illustrate, a commercial driver has a duty to obey the posted speed limit. If a trucker is speeding and cannot stop in time to avoid a collision, therefore, a negligence claim is likely to arise. If someone was killed in the accident, the driver may be held financially responsible for the victim’s wrongful death. In addition, the trucking company that employs the commercial driver may also be held liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability. This allows a victim or a bereaved family to hold an employer responsible for the negligent acts of an employee if the accident occurred in the scope and course of the employment relationship. In New York, the personal representative of someone who died in an avoidable collision may seek to recover damages on behalf of the deceased person’s family. Normally, a wrongful death claimant may pursue any types of compensation that the person who was killed would have been eligible to recover if he or she had survived. This can include lost wages, compensation for the suffering and pain the decedent experienced prior to his or her death, medical expenses, and the costs associated with the loved one’s funeral. Additionally, the value of lost services and financial support provided by the decedent, any lost inheritance, or loss of consortium may be recoverable. In some cases involving especially egregious conduct by the defendant, it may be possible to seek punitive damages. Since New York is a pure comparative fault accident state, any damages award may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed by jurors to the victim.
The statute of limitations for a New York wrongful death lawsuit is typically shorter than that imposed in a personal injury case. In general, a claim must be filed with a court within two years from the date of the victim’s death. If a personal representative fails to file a wrongful death case before the statute of limitations expires, any potential financial recovery will usually not be accessible.
Contact a Car Crash Attorney in New York
Although it’s always difficult to cope with the loss of a loved one, an unexpected motor vehicle crash can be especially traumatic. The compassionate lawyers at the Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC understand the devastating impact that this event can have on a car crash victim’s family. If you lost someone close to you in a New York accident, you need a legal professional on your side to help you seek justice. Our attorneys skillfully represent the family members of victims throughout the state of New York. Please call the Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC toll-free at (877) 580-6636 or contact us online.