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Fatal Head-On Collisions: How are Families Compensated?

It was 8:50 pm. Newman Ayeh-Brachie was driving his Nissan north on the Hudson span of the Tappan Zee bridge. His wife Hannah was seated beside him. Everything seemed normal — until a white SUV came barreling south in the northbound lane of traffic. It was going the wrong way.

Before Mr. Ayeh-Brachie could react, he was hit head-on. His car flipped over, landing in the middle lane of traffic. Other drivers swerved to avoid the white SUV but collided with the disabled vehicle. By the time first responders arrived at the scene of the accident, Mr. Ayeh-Brachie’s car had been hit multiple times. His wife, Hannah, was declared dead on arrival.

What should the victim’s family do?

Mr. Ayeh-Brachie and his family are clearly victims of driver negligence, but can they trust insurance companies to compensate them fairly for the tragic loss of a loved one? An experienced auto accident attorney might advise him as follows:

  • Auto insurance policies include personal liability coverage, but it simply may not be enough in this case. What happens when the amount of damage exceeds the negligent driver’s insurance policy limits?
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) provisions help, but do not settle your case for an amount less than the damages you incur, since it might affect your ability to obtain UIM coverage. (See Jordan v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, Inc.)
  • Civil lawsuits. Families of people killed in car accidents may sue the negligent driver in civil court, but pursuing this type of claim can be complicated, and it is useful to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney in your area.
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