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What Happens When Someone Dies Due to a Car Accident?

In 2022, roughly 42,795 people died in car accidents in the United States. While a tragic occurrence, it is important that the negligent party is held responsible for the individual’s death. If the negligent person acted criminally, then the state may press charges. However, family members do have the option to take legal recourse.

Our Albany car accident lawyers can help you navigate the insurance claims process and potential legal action following a tragic loss in a car crash.

Paying for Funeral and Burial Expenses

An estimated $1.5 million is paid out in car insurance claims in death benefits to beneficiaries. New York minimum car insurance requires that motorists carry a $2,000 death benefit. With the average funeral and burial costing $7,800, $2,000 does not go far.

If you had a loved one who died in a car accident, you do have the option to exit the state’s “no-fault” insurance system and make a claim against the negligent party’s insurance. New York does require that every motorist carry the following minimum third-party liability injury coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury (not resulting in death), or $50,000 for any injury resulting in death sustained by any one person per accident;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury (not resulting in death) by two or more persons per accident or $100,000 for any injuries resulting in death sustained by two or more persons per accident.

Once all no-fault options have been explored, you may file a claim with MedPay. MedPay, short for medical payments coverage, is optional insurance that covers medical and funeral expenses for the insured driver and any passengers. MedPay will cover these costs no matter the fault. MedPay will also cover medical expenses and funeral costs in the event a crash involves a pedestrian or bicyclist.

Criminal Liability

There are situations in which the other motorist may face criminal liability when someone dies. A person may face criminal charges if exhibiting any behavior at the time of the crash:

  • If the driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • If the driver fled the scene of the accident (i.e., hit-and-run)
  • If the driver was excessively speeding or exhibiting other behaviors of criminal recklessness
  • If the driver was driving with a suspended license
  • If the driver was attempting to evade the police

Wrongful Death Action

If your loved one’s death was caused by another’s negligence, then you can take action against the other party for wrongful death. In New York, the personal representative of a person’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. According to the law, legal action must begin within two years of the individual’s death.

A wrongful death suit allows family members to be compensated for the economic losses sustained by their loved one’s death.

Common damages pursued in a wrongful death action include:

  • The victim’s medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Future lost wages due to the victim’s untimely death
  • Reduction in inheritance
  • Household and childcare services

Compassionate Albany Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving You

A family member’s death is devastating, requiring you to pick up the broken pieces and attempt to move on with your life. If you have experienced the death of a loved one, our wrongful death lawyers are here to seek justice. Our legal team offers family members compassion while passionately explaining the entire legal process. To schedule your free consultation, contact us online or by phone.