Wrongful Death Attorneys In Long Island
Wrongful death cases involve claims in which someone’s death was allegedly caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing. New York, as well as every other state in the country, has state statutes governing wrongful death lawsuits.
Parker Waichman LLP, a personal injury law firm with headquarters on Long Island, New York, has decades of experience representing clients in wrongful death claims. Our firm offers free, no-obligation legal consultations. Contact one of our attorneys today with any questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. We work on a contingency fee; in other words, you do not pay lawyers’ fees unless we win your case.
What is a “Wrongful Death” Claim in New York?
When someone is legally at-fault for a person’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. Wrongful death claims include all types of fatal accidents and injuries. Car accidents, defective products, or nursing home abuse and neglect cases can all lead to a wrongful death claim, for example. Suing for wrongful death can recover damages for surviving family members. In a wrongful death case, the person who died is referred to as the “decedent”.
How do you file a wrongful death claim in New York? Under New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Code Part 4, a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit is required to prove five elements as follows. The plaintiff must show that a death occurred and that this death resulted from the wrongful conduct of the defendant. For the claim to be valid, the decent would have been able to file a lawsuit themselves had the death not occurred. The suit must also show that there are surviving family members who suffered loss due to the death. Lastly, the plaintiff must prove that there are damages the estate can recover.
Examples of Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims can be filed over any fatal injury or illness caused by the wrongful conduct of another party. For example, a claim may be filed if someone died due to the negligent conduct of another driver. Wrongful death claims can also stem from product liability lawsuits, including fatalities from allegedly defective consumer products, drugs, or medical devices.
For example, a drug causes a life-threatening side effect in some patients. The manufacturer knew or should have known about this side effect, but patients and physicians were never informed of these risks. A patient takes the drug and dies of the side effect. A wrongful death claim may be filed on their behalf, alleging that the death could have been avoided if the manufacturer warned about the risks.
In another example, a construction worker in Long Island dies from a fatal injury at work because their employer failed to follow safety regulations. The representative can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their surviving family members. Note that in the state of New York, there are special laws in place to ensure the safety of construction employees.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In New York, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. A family member cannot file a wrongful death claim in New York unless they also happen to be the personal representative of the estate. This rule differs from laws in many other states.
Regardless, a wrongful death lawsuit in New York can seek damages on behalf of surviving family members, such as heirs and beneficiaries. The suit also seeks damages suffered by the decedent’s estate.
If damages are awarded in a New York wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative essentially holds the compensation in trust for the surviving family members.
A statute of limitations is the amount of time allotted for you to file a certain type of lawsuit. If you try to file after this period, your claim will be barred. In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death.
What if the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is a child or legally unable to file the claim? The two-year statute of limitations still applies; it does not get “tolled” or stopped in New York, even if the representative is a child. In this situation, the guardian can file the claim on their behalf.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
“Damages” refer to compensation awarded for certain losses. In a New York or Long Island wrongful death case, damages can include things such as funeral and burial expenses. The suit can also seek damages for medical expenses related to the decedent’s death, including hospital stays, medication, at-home nursing care, and end-of-life care. A wrongful death claim can also recover lost wages between the decedent’s final injury or illness and death.
Other damages in a wrongful death claim include: support and services provided to family members, parental nurturing provided to surviving children, lost inheritance, and nine percent interest on damages award starting from date of death.
Although the loss of a loved one is emotionally distressing for surviving family members, New York does not award damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish of the surviving family members. However, the state does award damages for pain and suffering endured by the decedent due to their fatal injury or illness.
The Long Island personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman understand that losing a loved one is extremely difficult. Our lawyers are compassionate people dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured victims. If you or someone you know has any questions about filing a claim, contact one of our lawyers today.
Filing a Long Island Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a Long Island wrongful death claim, contact one of our Long Island personal injury attorneys today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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