If you’ve lost a loved one from a negligent or accidental act of another party, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit as the decedent’s estate. Below are all the important factors you need to know about wrongful deaths in New York, including the damages available, and the time at your disposal to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is a Wrongful Death Under New York Law?
The law in New York defines wrongful death as one that is caused by a wrongful act or the negligence of another party. Wrongful death can occur in many circumstances, such as
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Crimes such as murder
- Workplace accidents, among others
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a type of personal injury that meets New York’s serious injury threshold, as spelled out in the state insurance laws. When the threshold is met, eligible persons can file a personal injury claim for damages against the liable party.
For your case to qualify as wrongful death, you must prove negligence caused the death of your loved one. In addition, you have to show that the death directly affected you as the beneficiary of the deceased.
Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death In New York?
Not every relative of the deceased can instigate a wrongful death claim under New York law, and only a representative appointed by the surrogate court can initiate the process.
Immediate family members like the spouse or children are considered part of the deceased’s estate, and they can sue for wrongful death. If they are not present or incapable of initiating the civil action, the personal representative steps in. It is important to note the recipient of the damages is not usually the representative but the decedent’s estate.
Possible Damages In Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Following a successful wrongful death case, the deceased’s estate is entitled to compensation arising from the loss. Damages are awarded as compensation and may include but are not limited to:
- The financial gap caused by the death of your loved one
- Medical and burial expenses
- Loss of inheritance caused by the wrongful death
- Pain and suffering experienced by your loved one before their death
- Loss of parental love and guidance
- Loss of consortium
The amount of damages due to the decedent’s estate depends on the circumstances that led to the wrongful death, the deceased’s present and future income, among other factors.
How Long Do I File a Wrongful Death Claim In New York?
Every state has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This is the time limit within which you can file for damages, and in New York, the stipulated time is two years from the date of wrongful death.
A few exceptions exist in the statute of limitations when suing for wrongful death, such as
- Wrongful death caused by medical malpractice, which has a limit of two and a half years
- A pending criminal case against the responsible party for the death of your loved one where you have one year after the completion of their case to sue for wrongful death.
Reach Out to a Wrongful Death Attorney
A preponderance of evidence in support of your claim is required when suing for wrongful death. It is, therefore, crucial to seek legal counsel if you intend to instigate civil proceedings. An attorney well versed in New York’s personal injury and insurance laws will work doggedly to get the compensation you deserve, and that justice is served for your loved one.