One of the most tragic, oftentimes traumatic, experiences in life is the loss of a family member because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of someone else. If you have experienced such a loss, a Manhattan wrongful death lawyer can fight to ensure that your rights and interests fully are protected.
The first step in obtaining justice is having a basic understanding of New York wrongful death laws. Of course, if you have additional questions, an experienced Manhattan wrongful lawyer can provide you the supplemental information you need.
Who Files a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The laws in New York pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits differ somewhat from what is found elsewhere in the United States. In most jurisdictions, certain family members themselves can file wrongful death lawsuits. In New York, this type of lawsuit must be filed by the legal representative of the deceased individual’s estate. For example, if a person died with a will, the executor named in the will files a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. Family members obtain compensation for their losses via the estate.
Compensation in a Manhattan Wrongful Death Case
The compensation awarded in a Manhattan wrongful death case largely is a function of both the facts surrounding an accident and the familial relationship a surviving family member has with a deceased loved one. With that recognized, the compensation oftentimes awarded in a Manhattan wrongful death case typically includes:
- last medical expenses
- funeral and burial costs
- mental anguish
- lost companionship
- lost support
In some cases, punitive damages can be sought in a New York wrongful death case. Punitive damages represent additional compensation awarded to a surviving family member or family members in a case in which the conduct of the party that caused the death of a loved one is considered particularly reckless or egregious.
Punitive damages are designed to do more than provide more financial recovery to a surviving family member. Punitive damages are designed as a means of punishing a party whose conduct in causing an accident, and the resulting injuries, is considered egregious. Punitive damages are also intended to serve as a warning to others to avoid engaging in similar reckless conduct in the future.
Intentional Conduct Causing Wrongful Death
In addition to situations in which loved ones are killed because of someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct, wrongful death lawsuits can also be pursued when another individual intentionally causes the death of a family member. In such a situation, the perpetrator is likely to be charged with a crime. In addition, you have the legal right to seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit.
The outcome of the criminal case does not in and of itself directly impact what happens in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. In the U.S. judicial system, different standards apply in criminal and civil cases. What is called the standard of proof is significantly higher in a criminal case than in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. In other words, it takes a good deal more to convict someone in a criminal trial than it does to get a favorable judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit arising from the same set of facts.
Retain Manhattan Wrongful Death Lawyers
The first step in obtaining capable legal representation after the wrongful death of a beloved family member is scheduling an initial consultation with a skilled Manhattan wrongful death lawyer. An attorney versed in this area of the law charges no fee for an initial consultation to discuss your case.
Legal Fees in a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A Manhattan wrongful death lawyer charges what is known as a contingency fee in this type of case. Through a contingency fee arrangement, you do not pay an attorney fee unless and until your lawyer obtains a settlement or judgment in your favor.
During an initial consultation with a Manhattan wrongful death attorney, you will be provided complete information about the fee arrangement in your case. A fee agreement will be in writing, to ensure that you have complete information about its terms and conditions. The fee will be a reasonable, agreed-to percentage of a settlement or judgment.