Fatal accidents are not uncommon in New York, especially on our roads. Each year, hundreds of people are killed in collisions while riding in a car, enjoying a bicycle ride, or crossing the street as a pedestrian. According to one estimate, New York has more than 114,000 miles of public roads. And in 2022, the Empire State experienced 1,148 fatal accidents involving motor vehicles on these roads.
If you lost a beloved family member in a car accident, please contact Powers & Santola, LLP. We are a law firm made up of experienced New York wrongful death attorneys. In a free consultation, we can discuss whether you can file a lawsuit for the fatal accident, as well as the compensation you might receive. Call us today!
Where Are the Deadliest Roads?
Many of the state’s deadliest roads are in New York City, unsurprisingly, given the city’s huge population and traffic congestion. But other deadly roads are found in Islip, Rochester, and Babylon.
Here are some of the most dangerous roads:
- 3rd Avenue from 7th Street to 52nd Street in Brooklyn. This stretch experienced 8 fatal accidents from 2017 to 2019, according to the Federal Accident Reporting System (FARS).
- Atlantic Avenue from Rochester Avenue to 85th Street. 7 fatal accidents during this period.
- CR-93 from Richmond Boulevard to 13th Street in Islip. 7 fatal accidents from 2017 to 2019.
- Lake Avenue from Denise Road to Phelps Avenue in Rochester. 7 fatalities during this period.
- State Route 27 from Albany Avenue to Harvard Road in Babylon. 6 fatalities on this stretch of road.
Traffic Fatalities Go Up and Down
Statistics gathered by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management & Research showed a decline in the number of fatal accidents from 2009 to 2018:
- 2009: 1,148
- 2014: 1,026
- 2018: 936
But these numbers jumped back up again in the following years:
- 2019: 931
- 2020: 1,046
- 2021: 1,157
- 2022: 1,148
The upward trend is concerning. What’s more, the rate of fatal accidents per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) rose from 0.75 in 2019 up to 1.04 in 2022—a hike of nearly 40%! Despite the decline in fatalities at the end of the previous decade, we are right back to where we were in 2009 in terms of fatal accidents in New York.
Alcohol is a Major Driver of Fatal Accidents
Drunk driving contributed to 1 in 5 fatal accidents in New York State from 2017 to 2019. That is tragic, given the fact that driving while impaired is illegal. Unfortunately, any amount of alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive safely. In addition to slower reflexes, an intoxicated driver might engage in risky behavior or even fall asleep behind the wheel.
New York is in Top #10 for Fatal Distracted Driving Deaths
As reported by SI Live, New York had 4,785 fatal accidents from 2017 to 2021. Of those, 12% were distracted driving accidents. That was high enough to rank #9 in the country. Put differently, roughly 1 in 8 fatal accidents in New York State were caused by distraction.
Leading the way was New Mexico, where 37% of all fatal accidents were caused by a distracted driver, with Mississippi having the lowest rate among the 50 states.
There are many sources of distraction, but cell phones and similar electronic devices surely rank high. New York was the first state in the nation to ban handheld phone conversations, back in 2001, with other states following suit. Unfortunately, this law has not sufficiently reduced the amount of distraction.
What You Can Do if You Lost a Loved One in a Fatal Accident
Many people are paralyzed with grief following the tragic loss of a parent, child, or spouse. They might struggle to return to work or even leave the house. In fact, talking with a lawyer about the death is the last thing on their mind. Nonetheless, your family might have important legal rights which you don’t want to lose.
Distracted, negligent, and reckless driving causes many accidents each year. There is nothing unusual when injured victims sue the driver who struck them. If a victim dies, their family members then gain the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit based on the crash.
These are complicated cases. Only certain family members can receive compensation for loss of financial support, lost services, and other damages. The estate can also receive compensation for your loved one’s conscious pain and suffering, as well as for funeral and burial expenses.
The estate’s personal representative is responsible for filing the claim in court within two years of death (in most cases). You should find the deceased’s last will and testament to identify who is named as the personal representative (also called an “executor”). Where there is no will, the probate court will appoint someone to serve in this role.
How We Help Families
The New York wrongful death lawyers at Powers & Santola can do the legal legwork to determine whether you have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit based on an accident.
We can typically sue if your loved one’s crash was caused by:
- Negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, drowsy driving, or failing to use turn signals and mirrors.
- Recklessness, including driving while intoxicated or drag racing.
- Motor vehicle defects, such as faulty brakes or steering systems which render a vehicle dangerous to drive.
- Shoddy mechanical repairs, such as a failure to diagnose a problem with the car, which leads to a fatal collision.
Let us investigate. Often, family members have no idea what happened. All they know is that the police called to tell them a loved one died while out on the road.
Contact Us Today!
A wrongful death claim offers families a measure of justice when a dangerous driver kills a loved one out on the roads. Powers & Santola has secured many favorable settlements for our clients, including a $5.2 million wrongful death settlement for a mother’s death and $3.5 million for a motor vehicle accident. Call our law firm today to schedule a complimentary consultation.