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My son died in a car accident, need guidance.

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My19 year old son died in a car accident where he was a back seat passenger in June 2011. the car that hit then left the scene in a cab leaving his disable car but later turned himself in to the precinct. i don't know how to proceed in making a case and filing a claim with the insurance companies and the drivers of both cars. my son supposedly has a child. He acknowledge paternity, but we r contesting it in family court by getting a paternity test. Where do i go from here. How long do we have in order to make the claim? who can make the claim?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. Tragic! What State did the incident occur in?

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff

  2. The specific response requires us to know which state you are in. The statute of limitations and wrongful death statutes vary from state to state. IMMEDIATELY contact a personal injury lawyer. Based on the facts you describe, you should have plenty of options in choosing a competent personal injury lawyer who handles wrongful death cases. The initial consultation should be free, and likely there will be no attorney's fees until there is a recovery. Your lawyer can guide you on how to proceed and agaist whom to proceed. No matter which state you are in, you as a parent of the decedent likely have standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Becuase the statue of limitations is running, it is imparative that you contact a personal injury lawyer IMMEDIATELY. Good luck.

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. There are a number of claims that need to be made, and all must be made within 3 years of the accident. First, if you have not been appointed Administrator of your son's estate, you must have that done immediately. Many law firms, including mine, perform the Estate work as part of the personal injury process filing the necessary papers without charge. You shouldn't be making the claims with the insurance company. The attorney should be doing that. If your son was living in your household, and you own a car, your insurance company many have coverage for him, even though he was not in your car. That policy needs to be put on notice. The insurance company of the car in which your son was riding needs to be put on notice as does the other driver's insurance company. Unless the policy's are so nominal that the company's immediately make payment, in which case most law firms including mine, will take a substantially reduced fee, a lawsuit needs to be started against all involved drivers. Assuming that your son did not have a will, and virtually no 19 year old has a will, his assets and the settlement proceeds will be divided between his parents and any children. I understand your desire to confirm that the child your son acknowledged was really his, but regardless of whether the child is or not, you still need to become the administrator and act now. If you do indeed have a grandchild, only through a successful lawsuit will that child have the future that your son would have wanted. Please read my disclaimer below. You have a lot on your shoulders, and a caring compassionate attorney can lift much of that burdern.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Stewart & Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -

  4. You must set up an estate on behalf of your son. In all probability due to his age there was no will. You can be made the administraor of his estate by the Surrogates Court once a petition is filed. You must as the others have suggested consult with a personal injury attorney. Depending upon the jurisdiction the statute of limitations is shorter for a wrongful death action than a personal injury or plain negligence matter. Also , you must pursue the operator of the vehicle and his insurance carrier if there was any who left the scene as well as the car and insurance carrier that your son was in. All potential sources for recovery must be looked into and even more importantly put on notice of a potential claim. Time is of the essence!

  5. Tragic. You NEED to contact a personal injury lawyer right away.

  6. Condolences to you on your loss !

    Please note, in addition to the excellent questions you've raised, there may be many other critical considerations with respect to a proper prosecution of the claim(s) you may have. This matter requires a careful analysis and potentially a comprehensive investigation before the optimal strategy is initiated. The soonest possible consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential ! This matter simply does not lend itself to a quality reply over the internet, IMO.

    Wishing you healing,

    Eddie Friedman

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