There were 1,169 deaths as a result of car accidents in the State of New York during 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA records also show that there were 627 car accident fatalities in New Jersey that year.
Additional data from NHTSA include the following:
- In New York, 602 fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles, 170 were motorcycle riders and 287 were pedestrians.
- In New Jersey, 357 fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles, 93 were motorcycle riders and 142 were pedestrians.
- Drunk driving was responsible for 315 of the New York fatalities and 193 of the New Jersey fatalities.
- Speed was a factor in 338 of the New York fatalities and 174 of the New Jersey fatalities.
Legal Options for the Family of Fatal Car Accident Victims
When a car accident turns fatal, it often leaves behind spouses, children, parents or other family members who must grieve the loss and figure out how to go on without their loved one. Along with the heartache caused by losing a family member, many survivors also face financial devastation from the loss.
In New York and New Jersey, surviving family members may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The laws of both New York and New Jersey limit who may recover damages as a claimant in a wrongful death lawsuit. Each person eligible to recover damages can recover in proportion to their pecuniary loss. The laws in New York and New Jersey that define who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit and which specify what monetary and pecuniary loss can be compensated are complex. Therefore, if you are uncertain whether you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you should consult with an experienced New York or New Jersey fatal car accident attorney immediately.
Compensation in a Fatal Car Accident
Determining what compensation a surviving family member may be entitled to in a New York or New Jersey fatal accident lawsuit can be complicated. A wrongful death claim could cover direct costs incurred by the deceased, such as medical bills prior to death and funeral expenses. The deceased may have experienced pain and suffering prior to death, and a claim for these damages can be part of the lawsuit.
Beyond that, the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the surviving family members for what they have lost as a result of the death. In other words, the law tries to put the survivor in the same financial position that he or she would be in had the deceased not been killed.
This can be a complex process because there are numerous factors that go into determining an appropriate amount of compensation. Among the factors are:
- Education level of the decedent
- Earnings of the decedent at the time of death
- Future earning capacity
- Age and general health of the decedent at the time of death
- Amount of support the claimant received from the decedent
- Loss of nurture and support if claimant is the minor child of the decedent
- The extent to which the decedent contributed to the household
- The defendant’s conduct if it was intentional, depraved or reckless.
It is important for a surviving family member to understand that the decedent did not have to be the family breadwinner in order for a surviving family member to be entitled to compensation. In fact, the decedent did not have to be earning any money at all from work outside of the home. For example, a parent who stayed at home and took care of the children and the household is considered to have provided valuable support to the family unit, in other words, support that is potentially compensable.
Questions about Wrongful Death Claims? Get Help from the Ginarte Law Firm
Call 1-888-GINARTE (1-888-446-2783) now or fill out our online contact form for a free claim evaluation. Remember, there is no charge to talk with our car accident lawyers, and we collect fees only if we recover compensation for you.