Family members can file a wrongful death claim when their loved one dies through the negligence or wrongdoing of another person or corporation. This type of claim allows the deceased’s estate or surviving family members to seek monetary damages from the guilty party.
Although no amount of money can ever compensate you for your loss, a wrongful death claim is a means to seek justice for your loved one, hold responsible parties accountable, and recover compensation for your family’s future.
Contact The Case Handler today to begin seeking justice for your loved one lost to the negligence of another.
What Types of Accidents Can Lead to Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can be caused by many different factors and situations, such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents: A total of 36,560 people in the U.S. were killed in traffic crashes in 2018, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents are leading causes of wrongful death.
- Medical malpractice: Nearly $4 billion was paid out for medical malpractice claims in the U.S. in the most recent year for which data is available, as stated in the Diederich Healthcare 2018 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis – 30% of that sum was paid out for medical malpractice resulting in death.
- Construction accidents: Construction has a higher fatality rate than any other private-industry occupation. Out of 4,674 worker fatalities in the most recent year for which statistics are available, 971 (20.7%) occurred in construction. Falls are the number-one cause of worker death in the construction industry.
- Premises liability: At any given time in New York City, there are many buildings under construction throughout the five boroughs. When property owners are negligent in maintaining their properties, it puts the public at risk. Hazardous conditions can lead to serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries for legal visitors at a store, office, or home.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?
Only the following persons can bring a wrongful death claim New York:
- Surviving spouse of the deceased
- Child of the deceased
- Parent of the deceased
- The personal representative of the estate of the deceased
What Damages Can Be Claimed for Wrongful Death?
Damages awarded in a wrongful death claim will depend on the particular facts of the case. Commonly awarded damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical, nursing, and other healthcare expenses related to the final injury or illness of the deceased
- Wages and benefits lost between the final injury or illness and the death of the victim
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased related to the final injury or illness
- Value of support and services the deceased provided to family members
- Value of parental care, nurturing, and guidance to surviving children
- Lost inheritance suffered by surviving children
- Interest on damages awarded, calculated from the date of death
Under NY state law, family members of a deceased victim are not allowed to recover damages for their own pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of companionship – not even children of the person who was killed. In New York, only economic damages are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit, except for the conscious pain and suffering experienced by the victim before death as a result of the accident or injury.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim can only be brought if the victim would have had a valid personal injury claim against the responsible party had he or she lived. To recover damages for wrongful death, your attorney must show that the defendant acted negligently or wrongfully and that the defendant’s negligence or wrongdoing caused the victim’s death. It must also be shown that there are surviving distributees, children, or dependents of the deceased victim, and that his or her death resulted in monetary damages.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations (time limit imposed by law) for wrongful death is two years in New York. If your claim is not filed within that time period, it will be forever barred. If you have lost a loved one through someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.