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What To Do When Your Spouse Dies In A Car Accident In New York?

When a  spouse dies in a car accident in New York, as tragic and heartbreaking as such an event can be, there are a number of steps that must be taken promptly. Of course, funeral arrangements must be made and that is the first matter to address after the death of a  spouse.

The next decision you need to make is about whether to seek compensation against the party or parties that caused your spouse’s death. With this decision comes the need to gather evidence, deal with insurers, and manage other stressful tasks — unless you hire an attorney to do these things for you.

Why Compensation for Your Spouse’s Death Might Not Be on Your Mind

Few experiences can compare to the death of a spouse. While this is an unimaginably difficult time in any case, when a car accident causes this death, the heaviness of heart also comes with a sense of debilitating shock.

Unlike death brought on by illness, for which one at least can begin to prepare, the sudden death from a motor vehicle accident leaves the surviving spouse in a confused sense of bewilderment. Making the tough decisions required at a time like this gets even tougher.

While family members can help with funeral arrangements, and close neighbors can alleviate the strain of everyday productivity by providing meals and childcare services, some tasks are best left to legal professionals. This includes seeking compensation for the wrongful death of your spouse.

Why You Should Consider Seeking Compensation—And Doing It Early

As much as you might feel that thinking about financial compensation at this point somehow dishonors your deceased spouse, the truth is that your spouse’s death will likely present a substantial negative impact on your financial situation.

You will likely need financial help, and this help should come in the form of compensation from the party or parties liable for the car accident that caused your spouse’s death.

Finding the Right Help — With the Right Motives — to Recover Your Damages

As a survivor with much on your mind, your first inclination may be to seek compensation directly from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster has a definite vested interest in having you settle directly with the insurer. Insurance is a business, and the less the company pays you, the more profitable the company.

A wrongful death attorney, on the other hand, can provide you with information, strategies, and action to calculate, represent, negotiate, and litigate the value of damages you really deserve.

That said, finding and hiring an attorney sooner, rather than later, gives your legal counsel the opportunity to investigate your spouse’s accident while the elements of the accident are still intact.

Also, New York limits the time you have to file a wrongful death claim and to comply with other claims and litigation time-restrictions. In your time of grieving and learning to accept a “new normal,” these critical deadlines might come and go without your awareness. 

Elements That Comprise a Wrongful Death Action in New York

When a person or entity, through an act of negligence, causes the death of another individual, the deceased’s surviving spouse or other surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death action.

Every state writes its own laws that govern wrongful death cases. In New York, wrongful death actions must prove five components:

  • A death occurred.
  • The defendant caused this death by their wrongful conduct.
  • If the deceased had survived, they could have pursued compensation from the defendant for their actions.
  • Survivor(s) suffered a loss as a result of death.
  • An explanation of recoverable damages.

Recoverable Damages in a New York Wrongful Death Action

As a function of your wrongful death action, you may be able to recover the following types of damages, where applicable:

  • Cost of funeral and burial
  • Expenses related to medical expenses
  • Wages lost between the time of the injury and your spouse’s death
  • An amount attached to any support and services formerly provided by the deceased
  • Value of guidance, nurturing, and care the deceased would have provided to surviving children
  • Pain and suffering caused by the deceased’s final injury
  • Interest on the awarded damages

A Wrongful Death Attorney In New York Can Ease Your Burdens

A New York car accident lawyer at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. can take the burden of wrongful death compensation off your plate so you can spend this time allowing yourself to grieve and honor the memory of your spouse.  We are ready to proceed with compassion and determination.  Our goal is to win the greatest possible money recovery that you are entitled to and the justice that your beloved, departed spouse deserves.

We will handle any type of fatal motor vehicle accident case, including those involving:

Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 516-932-0400.

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