What Happens to the Body After a Fatal Car Accident in NYC?

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    In the time following a fatal car accident in New York City, certain procedures will be followed to ensure that a victim’s body is treated respectfully and autopsied.

    After a victim dies at a car accident scene in New York City, law enforcement officials will notify a coroner. Once a coroner arrives, they will assess the scene, confirm the victim’s death, and transfer the victim’s body to the morgue. An autopsy may follow to verify the cause of death. This can help surviving family members eligible to file a wrongful death claim to prove a negligent driver’s fault. Those close to a victim will be notified of their death as soon as possible. After being notified, personal representatives can proceed with a lawsuit against a negligent party, during which they can recover compensation for funeral costs and other financial losses.

    To get a confidential and free review of your case, call the New York City car accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.

    What Happens to the Victim’s Body After a Fatal NYC Car Accident?

    In the unfortunate circumstance that a victim dies in a car accident, a certain procedure will follow. Typically, the coroner will arrive at the scene after being notified by police officers of a victim’s death to ensure that the victim’s body is properly transported to the morgue. Then, a thorough autopsy might be carried out, after which point the victim’s body should be released to their family members.

    Emergency Medical Attention

    In fatal car accidents, victims are not always killed instantly. Suppose a victim is still alive when police officers and emergency medical professionals arrive at the scene. In that case, they will attempt to provide the necessary medical attention to prevent the victim’s death. If the victim has passed when emergency medical professionals get to the accident site, they will likely call the coroner right away. First responders will likely cover the victim’s body with a sheet following the pronouncement of their death at the scene out of respect for the victim.

    Arrival of Coroner

    Once it is confirmed that a victim has died at an accident scene in New York City, law enforcement officials will notify the coroner. Certain procedures must be followed when dealing with a victim’s body to ensure that the matter is handled respectfully and that all necessary protocols are adhered to. The coroner might use this time to gain a deeper understanding of the circumstances of the accident from law enforcement officials and to compare property damage and impact locations to the victim’s injuries.


    In many cases, it is clear that a victim’s death was caused by a car accident. Certain injuries might indicate the cause of death, especially if a victim was hit with debris or other materials during an accident. That said, coroners might complete a full autopsy, especially when a victim dies because of another person’s negligence. While this can be difficult for surviving family members, our Brooklyn car accident lawyers understand how crucial it is for a coroner to investigate the cause of death thoroughly. Your loved one’s autopsy can be vital evidence in a wrongful death claim against a negligent driver.

    Body is Released to Family

    Generally, families of victims killed in car accidents can recover their loved one’s bodies within several days of an incident. Some autopsies take longer than others, delaying the process. Once the coroner releases your loved one’s body, you can proceed with funeral and burial ceremonies.

    How Soon After a Fatal Car Accident Will Family Members Be Notified in NYC?

    In most cases, law enforcement officials try to notify surviving family members of a victim’s death as soon as possible in New York City.

    Which family members are informed of a car accident victim’s death, and when they are informed, varies in New York City. Once police officers are aware of a victim’s identity, they may reach out to those close to them, typically a spouse, parent, or child. Similar family members will be notified if a victim dies later at a hospital.

    This will typically happen as soon as possible, generally within a few hours of a victim’s death. Police officers prefer to do this in person and might show up at your home to respectfully inform you of your loss.

    Who Pays for a Victim’s Funeral Expenses After a Car Accident in NYC?

    Once a victim’s body is released to their family, a funeral ceremony will likely follow. The cost of funeral ceremonies can often be compensated for when eligible plaintiffs file a wrongful death suit against a negligent driver.

    Death meets the serious injury threshold for car accident claims in New York, meaning a victim’s personal representative can sue a negligent driver for damages. This person is typically a victim’s spouse or parent. In such a claim, eligible surviving family members can recover compensation for financial losses related to a victim’s death, such as funeral, cremation, or burial costs and loss of financial support. Compensation for pain and suffering is unavailable in wrongful death claims in New York City.

    In addition to a wrongful death claim, plaintiffs can bring a survival action on behalf of a deceased victim. This type of civil action could compensate eligible family members for damages incurred by a victim before their death. This includes compensation for medical expenses leading up to a victim’s death as well as pain and suffering they experienced before they died. The success of survival actions may differ in cases where victims die immediately at car accident scenes or succumb to their injuries later on at hospitals or at their homes.

    Call Us if Your Loved One Died in a Car Accident

    Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to get a free case evaluation from our Albany car accident lawyers today.