The loss of a loved one can emotionally flatten a family, and when that loss is the result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, the emotional impact can be overwhelming. If the death of your family member was caused by the wrongful act or omission of somebody else, you might want to seek compensation for your loss through a wrongful death claim.
What is a wrongful death action?
New York law allows for a wrongful death action to be filed when the death of a family member was the result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else. A wrongful death case might result from accidents involving:
- Auto accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dangerously defective products
- Accidents in commercial buildings
- Airplane, train or bus accidents
- Medical malpractice
Elements of a New York wrongful death case
Like all of the other states, New York has its own statutes governing wrongful death. It appears in the New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law, and it requires proof of certain elements. Those elements are that:
- There is a death
- Caused by the wrongful conduct of a defendant
- That gives rise to a cause of action which could have been maintained at the moment of death by the decedent, if death had not ensued
- There are survivor distributees who have suffered monetary loss as a result of the death
- There must be an appointment of a personal representative for the decedent
The claimant has the burden of proving all of these elements. If any one of the elements can’t be proved, there’s no viable wrongful death case.
Who can bring a wrongful death case?
New York law limits who can bring wrongful death lawsuits. These actions are allowed to be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. There are very few exceptions to this rule.
Damages in wrongful death cases
The recoverable damages available to a plaintiff in a New York wrongful death case are often coupled with those in a survival action, and they’re also specified by statute. Those damages include:
- The reasonable value of lost earnings between the moment of injury and the moment of death
- The cost of reasonable medical services required prior to death
- Conscious pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death
- The value of support and services that the decedent provided to his or her family
- The value of parental care and guidance to the decedent’s surviving children
- The value of any lost inheritance to any surviving children
- Funeral and burial expenses
Interest at a rate of 9 percent to date of death on any damages that are awarded can also be sought.
The statute of limitations
We understand how an untimely and tragic death of a family member can be emotionally exhausting, but we don’t want to see evidence lost or destroyed. Witnesses can vanish into thin air too. You need to preserve and protect your rights by meeting with us to file a wrongful death action as soon as possible. New York has set a two year statute of limitations on wrongful death cases. If the decedent’s personal representative or somebody else fails to file the wrongful death case within two years of the date of death, it’s likely that the decedent’s estate will be forever barred from proceeding further.
Any lawyer can file a wrongful death action, but it takes legal talent with a heart to give your family peace of mind and closure. It’s the compassion, dedication and extraordinary legal skills that make the emotional and personal connections between our lawyers and our clients. You’ve been devastated both emotionally and financially as the result of losing a family member due to the carelessness and negligence of somebody else. That person isn’t with you anymore, and you may well be entitled to an award of substantial damages for his or her loss. We’ll help you through these seemingly overwhelming circumstances, and it’s not going to cost you a penny for a case consultation and evaluation. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe that you lost a loved one due to the carelessness and negligence of somebody else anywhere in New York.