Wrongful Death Auto Accident Attorneys in Long Island
In many cases, car accidents cause victim deaths. Sometimes, victims die on the scene of the accident. In other cases, victims die in the minutes, hours, days, or even weeks following the accidents. When a victim dies in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, his or her loved ones may pursue compensation for related damages through a wrongful death claim.
Just like with a personal injury claim, a successful wrongful death claim requires evidence to prove that the death was the direct result of negligence. The negligent party named in a wrongful death lawsuit may be another driver, a pedestrian or bicyclist, the public or private entity charged with maintaining the road where the accident occurred, or even a vehicle’s seller or manufacturer.
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Negligence can Lead to Car Accident Deaths
The same kinds of negligence that lead to injury-causing car accidents can also create accidents that result in victim deaths. These types of negligence include:
- Drunk driving
- Aggressive driving
- Poor vehicle maintenance that results in a vehicle malfunction;
- Confusing or dangerously designed roadways and parking garages;
- Misunderstanding right of way rules; and
- Poorly maintained roadways.
Proving Negligence in Your Wrongful Death Claim
In New York, only one party is permitted to file a wrongful death claim after a victim dies in an accident: a personal representative of the victim’s estate. This individual can be one of the victim’s family members, but is not required to be.
A personal representative can pursue compensation on behalf of any individuals who relied on the victim for financial support. In order to recover compensation for these individuals’ losses, the wrongful death claim must provide a sufficient amount of evidence to prove that the death directly resulted from negligence. This evidence can include:
- A copy of the official police report for the accident;
- Documentation of the victim’s death and the injury that caused it;
- Eyewitness testimonies of the accident; and
- Photographs of the accident scene.
A Wrongful Death Claim is a Civil Claim
Sometimes, criminal actions like drunk driving lead to victim deaths. When the victim’s loved ones file a wrongful death claim in pursuit of compensation for their losses from the at-fault party, their claim is completely separate from any criminal charge the at-fault driver faces. It does not matter if the negligent driver is convicted of a crime or not; if there is sufficient evidence to prove that he or she acted in a negligent manner that resulted in a victim’s death, the wrongful death claimant may recover compensation for his or her losses.
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Work with an Experienced Long Island Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your related damages through a wrongful death claim. To learn more about your rights and the wrongful death claim process, contact our team of Long Island wrongful death lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today to set up your free legal consultation in our office.