The death of a loved one is always difficult, no matter what the circumstances. Funeral arrangements, executing wills and estate plans, final medical and other expenses, clearing out the residence, and notifying all the necessary people, companies and agencies can be exhausting until it’s all finished.
But dealing with a death that happened as a result of someone else’s negligence makes it even worse.
Known as “wrongful death,” it’s a civil remedy rather than a criminal allegation and is used to help surviving family members recover income that would have been available if the deceased were still alive and working.
Wrongful deaths can have many forms, including:
- Car, truck, and other vehicular accidents
- Plane crashes
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction injuries and site accidents
- Defective equipment and products
- Medical malpractice (negligence, incorrect treatments, etc.)
- Dangerous drugs and medical devices
Pursuing this type of claim will require more than sufficient evidence to show that the other party acted negligently, and that the accident cause would have been avoided had caution been exercised properly.
Proving Wrongful Death
New York requires five elements to establish a wrongful death:
- Death of a person
- The wrongful conduct of another individual caused the death
- The conduct resulted in an action that the deceased could have taken to court had the person not died
- The survival of one or more individuals who suffered losses as a result of the death
- Damages that are available for the estate to recover
A wrongful death suit is, essentially, a personal injury suit on behalf of a deceased person. A person who files a the lawsuit can sue for similar damages. However, these damages for losses will depend on the facts that your wrongful death attorneys present in court. They may include:
- Funeral and interment expenses
- Reasonable medical and health care expenses related to the deceased’s final injury or illness
- Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the deceased due to the final injury or illness
- Lost wages and benefits from the time of the deceased’s final injury to the date of death
- The lost value of the deceased’s support and services provided to surviving family members
- The lost value of the deceased’s parental nurturing, care, and guidance to the surviving children
- The loss of inheritance of the surviving children
- Legal interest of 9% on awarded damages, beginning from the date of death
New York does not allow surviving family members to pursue a claim for their own losses, such as pain & suffering, even if the deceased is a minor.
Who Can File?
New York only allows the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate to file a wrongful death claim, within two years of the date of death. A relative can file a wrongful death claim if he or she is also a “personal representative.” If that individual is a minor or is incapacitated and can’t file for him or herself, the time limit doesn’t stop. A guardian of the ineligible individual must file the suit on their behalf.
The personal representative can file the claim on behalf of family members. The court will treat the representative as a “trustee,” holding the survivors’ damages in trust until they are distributed.
Let Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier Help with Your Greenwich Village Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death resulting from someone else’s negligence can leave you with financial and other difficulties that you weren’t expecting. While we can’t take care of everything, we can help make things a little more bearable after the untimely loss of a loved one. You don’t have to carry the burden alone. Let our experienced Greenwich Village, NY wrongful death attorneys help you recover damages you need to get on with your life. For a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys, call our law firm today at (212) 777-9400.