Can You Go to Jail for Accidentally Killing Someone in a Car Accident

Can You Go to Jail for Accidentally Killing Someone in a Car Accident?

Maybe. Drivers whose negligent actions accidentally cause accidents resulting in the deaths of their passengers, pedestrians, or other cars’ occupants could find themselves in jail due to a charge of vehicular manslaughter. 

Losing a loved one is never easy for anyone. However, it’s even more heartbreaking if your loved one died due to another person’s negligent actions. If another person with a vehicular manslaughter charge took your loved one’s life, you have all the right to pursue damages. 

Understanding Vehicular Manslaughter

In New York, all three vehicular manslaughter classifications, including first degree, second degree, and aggravated vehicular manslaughter, involve the drunk or drugged operation of a vehicle where another individual was killed. However, certain aggravating factors could elevate a lesser vehicular manslaughter charge to an aggravated or first-degree offense. 

For the defendant to get a vehicular manslaughter conviction, the prosecutor must clearly show that the intoxicated driving of the defendant resulted in the accident that led to a death. Basically, it is not enough to just show that the defendant was intoxicated and that someone was killed. There has to be a clear link between the death and the defendant’s wrongful conduct. 

It really doesn’t matter whether the negligent driver was charged with aggravated, second-degree, or first-degree vehicular manslaughter; the deceased victim’s family members can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver for damages. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Under New York laws, the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate must file the claim for the family. If a family member is the estate’s personal representative, then that person can file the wrongful death claim. Either way, the wrongful death claim could pursue damages for the losses incurred by the deceased individual’s beneficiaries or heirs in addition to the losses incurred by the estate of the deceased individual because of the death. 

Contact an Experienced New York Wrongful Death Lawyer

We know that nothing is more painful than losing someone you love, especially if the death was a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct. But you can at least recover damages for your losses with the compassionate assistance of an experienced New York wrongful death lawyer. Get in touch with the Falkowitz Law Firm by phone at 844-385-4279 or online to arrange a free review of your wrongful death claim. 

Wrongful Death FAQs

What is a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim is filed against a defendant whose intentional or negligent actions caused the death of another individual. 

Who pays damages in a wrongful death claim?

Any individual or entity (a driver’s negligent employer, for instance) that contributed or caused the death of your loved one should pay for all applicable damages. 

Do I need a lawyer for a wrongful death claim?

Yes. A competent wrongful death lawyer will help ensure that you hold the liable party responsible by recovering compensation for the heartbreak, pain, and related losses you and your family suffered due to your loved one’s untimely death.

Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

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