New York Wrongful Death Lawyer

Few events will have a devastating effect on a family as the loss of a loved one. This loss can affect a family’s emotional state as well as their current finances and economic future. While every death is a tragedy, not all deaths can give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death suits only apply when the death of a person is caused by the intentional act or negligence of another. This means that while a death from disease or natural disaster cannot be the subject of a suit, deaths that result from criminal acts or even negligence certainly can.

A New York wrongful death lawyer could help families of the recently deceased to evaluate their legal options and to file lawsuits against the at-fault party. These lawsuits can claim compensation not only for the costs associated with the death itself but also for the future economic and emotional impact that the death will have on the surviving members of the family. If your loved one passed away due to the negligence of another party, get in touch with a compassionate personal injury attorney.

Ways that a Wrongful Death may Occur

A wrongful death typically happens when a defendant acts in a way that placed the decedent under an undue risk of harm. This can happen in both an accidental way and an intentional way.

Most wrongful deaths are the result of accidents. However, just because a defendant did not mean to cause any harm to the decedent does not mean that they escape any legal liability. In general, a wrongful death lawsuit is legally similar to that for any other personal injury case.

For example, many wrongful deaths occur every year as a result of car accidents. All drivers have a legal duty to watch out for the welfare of all other people they may encounter while on the road. If they fail in this duty and cause a collision, they are responsible for any damage that may result, even a death. The same logic can apply to accidental deaths that result from slip and falls or dog bites.

Other wrongful deaths can result from criminal conduct. The important thing to remember here is that any criminal prosecution for the death is related to, but not identical to the potential civil suit. Criminal courts can never order the defendant to pay compensation to the decedent’s family. Plaintiffs in these cases must file separate civil lawsuits.

Other Considerations in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful death lawsuits are a special class of personal injury cases. The first major consideration in any lawsuit is identifying the proper plaintiff. In a wrongful death case, this obviously cannot be the decedent. New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law §5-4.1 states that a plaintiff in a wrongful death case must be a personal representative of the estate of the decedent.

This is in contrast to many other states where the surviving family members can serve as the plaintiff. A personal representative is typically named in a will but may be assigned by the court if necessary.

Another main difference is in how plaintiffs must claim damages. In essence, there are two causes of actions in wrongful death cases: wrongful death and survivorship.

A wrongful death case is designed to provide compensation for any suffering and medical costs associated with the end of the decedent’s life. The survivorship action is meant to compensate the family and dependents of the decedent.

These two actions combine to demand compensation for medical costs, burial costs, lost future earnings, loss of emotional support, and the value of lost parenting guidance to any minor children.

Finally, there is a limited time to file a lawsuit. Under New York law, all wrongful death suits must be brought to court no more than two years from the date of the death. This is notably shorter than the three-year limit for all other personal injuries. A New York wrongful death lawyer could help families to file these lawsuits to demand all possible compensation.

Work with a New York Wrongful Death Attorney Today

The loss of a loved one will throw family members’ lives into chaos. Not only will they need to deal with the immediate consequences of the death, such as medical costs and a funeral, but they will also need to make considerations for the future.

Anytime that a death is caused by an intentional act or an otherwise actionable civil suit, the surviving members have the right to seek compensation.

This can include compensation for medical costs and the burial as well as lost future earnings and emotional support. A New York wrongful death lawyer could help families during this difficult time to provide for their future and to hold the at-fault parties liable in civil court. Contact an attorney today to schedule a consultation.