A wrongful death occurs when a person dies as the direct result of another's negligence or willful act. When this happens, it is up to the victim's family members to try to pick up the pieces and find peace.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligent or intentional act, you have the right to file a wrongful death suit. The claim must be filed by the person representing your loved one's estate.
Establishing a wrongful death suit
Certain criteria, beyond the death of the victim due to negligence or intent, must be met in order to file a claim for wrongful death.
An additional requirement is that surviving family members must be suffering from a financial burden as a direct result of the victim's death. Also, the state of New York mandates that a family member can only file a claim if that person is the representative of the decedent's estate.
Circumstances contributing to a wrongful death
There are many circumstances that can contribute to a wrongful death, including medical malpractice, hazards in the workplace, criminal behavior, and even auto accidents caused by drunk drivers.
In New York, the damages awarded to the victim's estate will depend on the specific facts surrounding the claim. In most cases, damages will include funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses related to the individual's illness or injury, and the value of the support and services the deceased provided to family members.
Surviving family members will not be able to recover their own damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish.
New York statute of limitations
A wrongful death claim can be filed no more than two years from the victim's date of death.
The first step in filing a wrongful death claim is to understand your rights as a family member or representative of the deceased. An attorney experienced with wrongful death claims can provide you with the guidance you need.