The death of a loved one is always an overwhelmingly painful experience. However, it can become even more difficult to deal with the loss if the death has been caused due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another person. In such situations, it is possible for the victim’s family to file a wrongful death case to recover damages from the party who was responsible for causing the death.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?
A death that has resulted from the recklessness, negligence, wrongful or intentional action of another person is called a wrongful death. The person responsible for the death can be held responsible for the loss caused to the survivors. A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury claim where the relatives of the victim can seek compensation for not just the medical and other expenses they were forced to bear, but also for the loss of love, advice, and companionship that they have lost after the loved one’s death.
On What Grounds Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
A wrongful death is a situation caused due to the negligence of another person or sometimes, an entity. To be able to file a wrongful death claim, it is important that one should be able to prove that the death occurred because the responsible party failed to employ reasonable care under the circumstances.
It is crucial that the responsible party should have had a duty of care to the victim. Duty of care means the legal responsibility to act in a manner that uses sufficient caution when carrying out actions that can be potentially dangerous. ‘Acting in a negligent manner’ implies that the responsible party violated the duty of care.
In order to succeed in winning a wrongful death claim, the victim’s family must be able to provide evidence that the death was caused directly due to the responsible party’s negligence. Equally important, it is necessary to show that the death of the victim has brought on economic and non-economic loss for their family.
Such claims are common in situations where a defective product, medical malpractice, an automobile accident or a slip-and-fall incident caused the death of a loved one.
Who May File for Damages in a Wrongful Death Case in New York?
According to the law in New York, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought by the following relatives of the deceased person:
On top of this, the claim may be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate or a court-appointed representative of the deceased individual. If the deceased did not have any spouse, child or parent surviving them, the law may allow another blood relative to file the claim, provided that person has been named as either the personal or court-appointed representative of the victim’s estate.
Under New York law, wrongful death claims must be filed within the specified time frame of two years of the victim’s death.
What Damages Can You Seek Compensation for in a NY Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The specifics of what damages one can seek in a wrongful death case will vary depending on the particular circumstances that caused the tragedy. However, in general, one can seek compensation for the following types of damages:
The age of the victim at the time of death and their life expectancy are an important factor on which economic damages will be based. A young child who loses a parent is entitled to a far higher award of damages because of the loss they suffered in terms of lost wages of the deceased parent.
One important limitation of the New York law on wrongful death claims is that you cannot claim damages for the emotional suffering you underwent due to the death of your loved one. However, if you have been present in the danger zone at the time of the accident and actually observed the accident that led to death of your loved one, an exception is permitted to this general rule.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit if Your Loved One Was Partly Responsible for the Accident?
Some accidents may be caused due to the negligence of multiple parties. As New York law follows the comparative negligence clause, all the persons or entities who share the blame for the accident are held liable for it.
So, if it is true that your loved one was partly responsible for the fatal accident in which they were killed, they may be one of the parties held liable for the incident. However, this does not mean that you are not allowed to file a wrongful death claim and receive some compensation.
You can certainly file the lawsuit, but the amount of compensation you recover will be reduced by the extent to which your loved one was to blame for the accident. If the victim’s contribution to the accident blame was 50 percent, the damages awarded to you in the New York wrongful death claim will be reduced by 50 percent.
When Should You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The loss of a loved one can be devastating and your grief is likely to be so deep that you don’t have the strength or the will to do things beyond the bare minimum of everyday life. It is natural emotion for you to reject the idea of claiming compensation because no amount of money can ever compensate for the huge loss you have suffered, nor can it bring back the loved one.
However, it’s critical to realize that the negligent person must be held accountable for the damage they have wrought in the victim’s life. Besides, the unforeseen expenses you have incurred due to the loved one’s death may be causing a sizeable dent in your financial resources and getting compensation for the wrongful death can reduce that stress.
As per New York laws, the statute of limitations is two years for wrongful death cases. This means that your claim must be filed with the local court within two years of the death of your loved one. So, it’s paramount that you make the decision to file and initiate legal proceedings as soon as possible without a significant delay or you may find that you have waited too long to be eligible for compensation.
Why You Should Consult a Wrongful Death Attorney in New York
If your loved one has been killed in an accident caused due to the fault of another party, it is important you consult a competent wrongful death attorney at the earliest. Explaining your case to them and getting their expert legal opinion can help you decide if the case has the necessary element of a breach of the duty of care by the negligent individual or entity.
Filing a wrongful death claim is a complex process that calls for filing the legal paperwork correctly within stipulated deadlines. You will also have to conduct an investigation into the facts of the case to gather evidence that proves the negligence of the at-fault party.
Insurance providers of the negligent party may approach you for a settlement which, more often than not, is far less compared to the amount you may receive if you go to trial. You will need to negotiate with the insurance company representatives to make sure you are being offered an amount that is truly equivalent to the compensation you deserve.
You may not have the resources or the skill to deal with all this, more so when you’re still grieving over your loss. An experienced New York wrongful death lawyer on the other hand has all the expertise and skill required to ensure you have a strong case to fetch you the maximum possible compensation.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in NYC Today
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else, you may have a strong case to pursue justice and obtain your rightful compensation from the negligent party. Get in touch with us at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP at 1-800-660-2264 for a free case evaluation. Our compassionate and skilled attorneys will handle all the legal aspects of your case while you begin the process of healing yourself and adjusting to a new way of life without your loved one.
Whether it is filing the necessary paperwork, or dealing with offers from insurance providers of the at-fault parties, our wrongful death attorneys will handle your case in the most competent manner to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve for the loss you have suffered.
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