Our pedestrian accident lawyers understand the complexity involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf on an estate.
According to a recent article from CBS New York, a pedestrian was killed in what is believed to be an alcohol-related collision in Queens. According to police, a 911 call came in between four and five a.m. about a man who had been hit by a vehicle.
It has been alleged that the suspect’s vehicle hit the man and then crashed into a parked car. EMS personnel declared the victim dead on scene. The driver and his passenger were both taken to the hospital. The driver was charged with a variety of criminal charges, including DWI (second or subsequent offense), criminally negligent homicide (vehicular manslaughter), and a host of other New York traffic offenses. The police have not released the victim’s identity.
In addition to the driver facing criminal penalties, family members who survive an alcohol-related car crash will likely consult a personal injury attorney. As our New York City pedestrian accident attorneys understand, in the case of an accident where the victim dies, any wrongful death lawsuit will likely be in the name of the estate of the deceased person.
Surviving heirs (normally a spouse, child, or sometimes parent) will open an estate in the Surrogate’s Court. The heir will be appointed as the personal representative (executor) of the estate of the decedent. This gives that person the right to file a lawsuit in the name of the deceased person’s estate. If the case is settled, or the plaintiff wins at trial, the surviving heirs will be entitled to any money paid after certain expenses, such as medical bills.
The claims of many wrongful death actions include pain and suffering experienced prior to death, loss of future wages, and possible other “special” damages. In addition to the claims brought on behalf of the estate, the surviving heirs may be able to sue in their personal capacities. A spouse, for example, may be able to sue for what lawyers and judges refer to as “loss of consortium.” A loss of consortium claim is designed to compensate a plaintiff for the loss of the love, affection, and marital relationship caused by the death or significant injury to their spouse.
Regardless of the specific type of claim, a wrongful death case of this type is generally filed under a theory of negligence. This means that driver owed a duty of care to protect the plaintiff from harm and breached that duty. The breach of the duty of care must actually and proximately cause harm to the plaintiff, and there must be damages as a result. There is not much question that if a person drives drunk and kills someone, that could be considered a negligent act.
Additionally, if the defendant pleads guilty to a criminal case, or is found guilty by a judge or jury, it may be difficult for the defendant’s car insurance company to disclaim liability on behalf of the insured.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673
Driver Charged Following Crash That Left Pedestrian Dead In Jackson Heights, July 5, 2014, CBS Local New York
More Blog Entries:
Report: NYC Ranks No. 1 for Pedestrian Deaths, June 12, 2014, New York Injury Lawyer Blog