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Fatal Car Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers Representing Families of Vehicle Collision Victims

A fatal car accident can be the result of many different kinds of negligent acts. It may occur as the result of someone running a red light or stop sign, drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, driving on medication so that reflexes are slowed, tailgating, speeding, weaving, or engaging in other reckless conduct on the road. If a loved one dies in a fatal car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or other misconduct, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The dedicated Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can help you seek compensation for the expenses and loss of income you may be facing after this kind of loss.

Fatal Car Accidents

It is devastating to lose a loved one. You may be grieving for a long time after a fatal car accident. However, it is important to consult an attorney if your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence or a defective product. Often there are significant expenses associated with a death arising out of a car accident, including loss of wages, funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Most people do not have enough saved up in case of a serious or fatal accident.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions intended to compensate the decedent’s loved ones and dependents for economic losses arising out of the death. It is separate and distinct from any criminal action that might be filed for homicide or manslaughter after a fatal car accident. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in any situation in which the decedent’s death was triggered by the negligent or wrongful actions of an entity or person.

Wrongful death lawsuits are covered by the New York Estates, Powers, and Trust Laws. Section 5-4.1 of the Estates, Powers, and Trust Laws gives the right to the legal representative of the estate to sue for wrongful death. Section 5-4.3 provides for the amount of recovery. It will be necessary to prove: (1) there was a death, (2) caused by the defendant’s wrongful or negligent conduct, such as drunk driving, (3) giving rise to a cause of action that could have been pursued by the decedent had his or her death not happened, (4) survival by one or more people that were harmed as a result of the death, and (5) damages that can be recovered by the estate.


In order to recover, the legal representative of the fatal car accident victim needs to establish that there is a pecuniary loss. Pecuniary losses can include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and other concrete, direct losses. Pecuniary loss can also include loss of economic support for next of kin due to loss of the accident victim’s earnings, loss of services to the accident victim’s spouse, and loss of guidance and parental care to the accident victim’s child.

Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Suit

The personal representative of a fatal car accident victim’s estate is the only person who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal car accident. The wrongful death lawsuit is filed on behalf of the deceased accident victim’s family members or “beneficiaries.” These beneficiaries do not sue individually.

The damages recovered in a successful wrongful death suit will be distributed to beneficiaries. Usually spouses and minor children are the beneficiaries, but other family members that can show financial dependence on the accident victim may also count as beneficiaries.

Compassionate Car Accident Attorneys Serving Syracuse

After a fatal car accident, family members of any decedents may be concerned about how they’ll pay their bills, pay for a funeral and burial, and live without the decedent’s income and services. The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent families harmed by fatal car accidents in Syracuse. We also represent families in Rochester, Elmira, Auburn, Binghamton, Ithaca, Norwich, Herkimer, Oneida, Lowville, Watertown, Oswego, Utica, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, and Lyons. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY