Each year, over 6 million people get in car accidents in the US—with nearly 400,000 of those accidents taking place in New York. These accidents can cause a wide range of damages—from fender benders and a few scratches and seat belt burns to car-totaling wrecks that can break bones and cause lifelong back problems.But what happens when a car accident ends a person’s life? What happened if that person was your loved one—or the driver of a car you hit?
If you or your loved one was involved in a fatal accident, you may be able to seek damages (or have damages sought against you). But how does it all work when a death is involved?
The answer is, it’s complicated. However, there are a few essential things to keep in mind if you’re dealing with a fatal accident in Nanuet, New York.
- Deadlines: In these cases, there is what is referred to as a “statute of limitations”—or a deadline by which you have to file your lawsuit if you want it to be heard. In general, the statute of limitations for personal injury accidents in Nanuet, NY is three years—except the statute of limitations for lethal personal injury is usually only two years from the date of the person’s death. This is why it is essential to get in touch with a Nanuet, NY fatal accident attorney as soon as possible once you feel that you have a case you want to pursue.
- No-Fault: New York is a “no-fault” or “pure comparative fault” state. This means that recovery can be claimed (i.e., you can pursue a lawsuit for damages) even if you (or the deceased party) were partially or even largely or mostly at fault for the accident. In these cases, the jury is often asked to calculate both the damages owed to the plaintiff and their degree of fault in the accident, and their damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. So, if you are holding back from filing your lawsuit because you think it might get thrown out for partial fault, think again. However…
- No-Fault Car Insurance: New York is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that an injured person (or the representative of a deceased person) has to first file a claim with their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and try to get compensation that way for medical bills, lost income, and other economic damages and costs after a fatal accident, regardless of the amount of fault involved by any and all parties. Non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) are not available under PIP claims.
In a fatal accident, however, the injuries are serious enough that survivors are permitted to file a separate claim against the other party at fault (even partially), during which non-economic damages are on the table.
If this sounds confusing to you, don’t worry: that’s what the experts are for. Nanuet, NY fatal accident attorney Reuven Epstein is ready and able to help you with your fatal accident claim. Reach out today for a free consultation on your case.