According to 2021 census estimates, nearly 8.5 million people call New York City home, with approximately 1.6 million living in Manhattan. Though the city’s density and transportation options mean fewer residents own cars, about 2 million do. Furthermore, the city ranks at the top of the list of most congested cities in the United States.
Fortunately, it does not claim the top spot for the deadliest roads. It isn’t even on the list of 10 cities with the highest rates of traffic deaths. However, fatal car accidents occur yearly, and one life lost from a collision is too many. Manhattan sits right in the middle of the other four boroughs for its record on traffic-accident deaths.
Examining Manhattan Vehicle Collision Statistics
Between January 2017 and December 2021, Manhattan had more deaths from traffic accidents than Staten Island or the Bronx but fewer than Queens and Brooklyn. During those five years, 587 people died in accidents within NYC, with 123 losing their lives in Manhattan, compared to 33 in Staten Island, 95 in the Bronx, 213 in Queens and 242 in Brooklyn. Pedestrians were the victims more often than cyclists or motorists in every borough but Staten Island.
Vehicle Accident Trends in Manhattan
The number of people injured in traffic accidents declined yearly from 2017 to 2020 before increasing in 2021, though the number of injuries that year was still lower than in 2019. The breakdown of the data is as follows:
- 2017: 5,648 injuries, including 2,908 motorists, 1,770 pedestrians and 974 cyclists
- 2018: 5,436 injuries, including 2,650 motorists, 1,783 pedestrians and 1,005 cyclists
- 2019: 5,242 injuries, including 2,644 motorists, 1,565 pedestrians and 1,032 cyclists
- 2020: 3,577 injuries, including 1,737 motorists, 882 pedestrians and 958 cyclists
- 2021: 4,627 injuries, including 2,198 motorists, 1,121 pedestrians and 1,022 cyclists
Though motorists have the highest incidents of injuries, more pedestrians die from their injuries than cyclists or motorists. Furthermore, the number of fatalities was higher in 2021 than in any of the years from 2017 through 2020.
In 2017, of the 33 deaths in Manhattan traffic accidents, 21 were pedestrians, eight were cyclists, and 4 were motorists. In 2018, 13 of the 20 who died were pedestrians, compared to five motorists and two cyclists. A total of 24 people lost their lives in 2019, and 20 were pedestrians, two were cyclists, and two were motorists. The number of people killed in traffic accidents in 2020 was 21, with nine pedestrian fatalities, seven motorist deaths and five cyclist fatalities. In 2021, 25 people died; of those, 16 were pedestrians, six were motorists, and three were cyclists.
New York City police department tracks traffic accident statistics every month throughout the year, providing cumulative data as each year progresses in the Vision Zero mapper. Between January and November of 2022, there were 46,263 injuries and 231 fatalities citywide. In the southern precincts of Manhattan, 17 people died during the same period, while 22 lost their lives in the northern precincts.
Traffic Fatalities Nationwide in 2021
The slight jump in fatalities in Manhattan in 2021 compared to the years from 2017 through 2020 reflects a nationwide trend, though to a lesser degree. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed estimates for traffic-accident fatalities across the nation in 2021. The agency’s preliminary data show that the number of people who died was higher in 2021 than in any other year since 2005. Fatalities in 2021 jumped an estimated 10.5% from 2020 numbers, with a total of 42,915 deaths in car crashes.
Understanding Your Options
Losing someone you love in a traffic accident is a traumatic and life-changing event. Nothing will bring your loved one back or replace everything you lost with their passing. Insurance policies typically pay a death benefit to named beneficiaries, but it is not enough to compensate for the loss of life.
However, you may be able to recover economic losses and financial compensation for non-economic damages to help you transition to a life without someone you count on. When someone dies due to another person’s negligence, New York State classifies it as a wrongful death.
What Qualifies for a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit is possible only under certain circumstances. The state’s laws define a wrongful death as one that occurs due to another party’s negligent or intentional acts. A car crash might qualify if another individual was at fault in the accident, and the deceased could have filed a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived injuries sustained in the crash.
Who Is Eligible To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Though an accident fatality may impact multiple people, the law limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. New York’s Consolidated Laws stipulate that only a spouse, children or parents can file a legal claim on behalf of the loved one, with priority given to the spouse and children. The state divides compensatory awards according to the number of survivors and their relationship to the deceased.
A representative of the deceased’s estate can also file a lawsuit. However, any compensation goes to beneficiaries as indicated in a will or trust and according to law. The only time other relatives — such as siblings or cousins — can bring a legal claim for wrongful death is if the individual is also the estate’s representative.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
To win a wrongful death claim for a traffic accident fatality, you must be able to demonstrate that another party’s negligence was at least partially responsible for the crash that led to your loved one’s death, meaning that the victim could have filed a personal injury lawsuit if the individual had lived. You must also demonstrate that you are entitled to file a claim. Furthermore, you must prove that the accident resulted in economic damages.
What Damages Can You Pursue in a Wrongful Death Claim?
When you file a wrongful death claim, you may pursue compensation for losses your loved one experienced and the financial impacts on you from the loss. Though each case may vary based on case specifics, examples of the types of damages you could pursue include the following:
- Medical expenses your loved one incurred from the accident
- Burial or cremation and funeral expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of services, support and care the victim provided
- Pain and suffering the deceased experienced before passing
The courts may allow you to pursue punitive damages for negligent acts that are particularly egregious, such as drunk or reckless driving. A wrongful death attorney can help you determine what damages your case qualifies for.
What Is the Time Limit To File?
New York’s statute of limitations stipulates how long you have to file a legal claim with the courts. Wrongful death claims have a two-year deadline from the date of death, not the accident date. However, the sooner you begin the process, the more likely you can file a solid claim. The more time passes, the greater the chances of losing valuable evidence.
Getting Help With Your Claim
If you lost a loved one in a Manhattan car accident, no amount of money is enough to compensate you for your loss. However, Cellino Law is here to help you pursue justice. We have the experience and knowledge needed to represent you and your loved one, so we can handle the legal battle while you concentrate on getting your life back in order. Get in touch today for a free consultation.
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