Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is not a step anyone wants to think about having to make someday. If the loss of a loved one is what has brought you this page and to a point in your life where you do need to consider taking such action, we offer our heartfelt condolences and our willingness to answer all your questions, address all your concerns and offer you zealous advocacy with the goal of winning the compensation you need and the justice your departed loved one deserves. Typically, distribution of estate assets is prioritized as follows: The decedent’s spouse is first, followed by their children, and then the parents.
A wrongful death lawyer from our firm will explain, patiently, compassionately and comprehensively, how the court divides a wrongful death settlement and will fight to win the best possible recovery for you.
- What is a Wrongful Death Settlement?
- What Damages Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Cover?
- How Does the Court Divide a Wrongful Death Settlement?
- What is the Value of My Wrongful Death Settlement?
- Learn More About Dividing a Wrongful Death Settlement Today
What is a Wrongful Death Settlement?
A wrongful death settlement is an amount of compensation for damages you and your family have suffered as a result of the loss of your loved one due to negligence by an individual or entity.
The negligent party and their insurance provider will typically make you a settlement offer. However, be wary as it could be a lowball sum since insurance companies are profit-driven and would rather not make a fair payout. Most wrongful death lawsuits settle out of court because insurance providers don’t want to risk paying out a larger amount if they feel the lawers for the estate are capable of winning a verdict substantially greater than the amount the case can settle for.
If you hire a wrongful death lawyer, your lawyer will evaluate settlement offers and work to negotiate a settlement that adequately covers your losses. Depending upon how the negotiations unfold, taking your case to trial to seek compensation via a jury may ultimately be the best option.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-932-0400
What Damages Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Cover?
Wrongful death damages include funeral expenses and the pain and suffering your family member felt before their death. (Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, New York law the legal system does not permit recovery for your own pain and suffering.) Wrongful death damages also include any lost income of your departed loved one. . Without your loved one, you and your family are deprived of the income they brought into the household and their future earnings stemming from pay raises, promotions, and pension. All of these financial losses are recoverable.
Medical expenses are also covered. You could be left with medical bills because your loved one had to have surgery, hospitalization, and emergency care to treat their injuries.
While pain and suffering are more challenging to prove, most other damages generally come with documentation you can bring as evidence to prove your claim. This includes items such as police reports, medical records, and pay stubs, just to name a few as examples.
Your lawyer will gather this evidence and work with experts such as medical professionals and financial planners to determine which damages apply to your case and how much compensation will be enough to cover them.
How Does the Court Divide a Wrongful Death Settlement?
The court has a process for paying out settlements to the surviving family members of the decedent (when the decedent has passed without a will, which is referred to as dying “intestate,) according to priority under Estates, Powers & Trusts § 5-4.1.
- Spouse and no children: If the decedent has a surviving spouse and no children, the spouse receives the entire settlement. Spouses have top priority in wrongful death settlements.
- Spouse and children: According to New York law, the spouse receives $50,000 off the top of the settlement and the rest is split in half between the spouse and the children. The children’s “half” is then divided so that each child receives an equal amount of compensation.
- Children and no spouse: If the decedent doesn’t have a spouse but does have children, the entire settlement goes to the children and is split equally among them.
- Parents: After spouses and children, parents have the next priority. If the decedent doesn’t have a spouse or children, the surviving parent or parents receive the settlement. If the parents are not together, the settlement is split evenly between them.
- Siblings: If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the decedent’s surviving siblings would receive the settlement, with each sibling receiving an equal share.
- Other family members: If no siblings are alive to receive the settlement, the court would then disburse it to surviving nieces and nephews.
It bears repeating that the various scenarios described above contemplate a situation where there is no will. If there is a will, the choices the wrongful death victim made as to distribution of assets would control
What is the Value of My Wrongful Death Settlement?
Several factors will determine the value of your wrongful death settlement. The decedent’s income and future earning capacity will come into play, as will the cost of expenses left behind. The pain and suffering of the decedent will be more challenging to calculate but is no less important to your claim. These are things your loved one should not have experienced, and your lawyer will work to include their value in your settlement.
There are no damage caps in New York, so your case could be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
A wrongful death lawyer from our firm will determine the value of your case and fight for the amount of compensation you deserve. The wrongful death of someone you love leaves a hole in your family that impacts you for the rest of your life. Recovering compensation will hold the negligent party accountable so you and your family will be able to move forward and rebuild, covering financial losses that otherwise would have hurt the future of you and your family.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Learn More About Dividing a Wrongful Death Settlement Today
You have the right to seek compensation for the wrongful death of someone you love. You not only want compensation to cover your expenses and secure the future for yourself and your family, but you also want justice for your loved one.
We will build your wrongful death case, meet all deadlines, assist you in up to ten different languages, travel to you on Long Island and the New York metropolitan area if you can’t come to our location, and provide you with the powerful advocacy you and your family need during this difficult time.
To learn more about how to divide a wrongful death settlement, or to talk to an attorney at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. about your case, please don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation today.