The tragic loss of a loved one due to the actions of another can be absolutely devastating. While a wrongful death suit cannot restore your loved one to you, it can help bring a measure of peace after their loss. A wrongful death suit is a lawsuit that holds the at-fault party accountable for their actions.
If you have lost a loved one, our attorneys extend our most heartfelt condolences. We understand it is a difficult and challenging time, and you may be considering a legal case for the first time. We consider handling these cases a special privilege. We promise to be relentless in our pursuit of justice for your loved one and compensation for your surviving family.
Keep reading to learn more about these cases and find answers to many of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs).
- What Causes Qualify As Wrongful Deaths?
- Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- How a Wrongful Death Attorney Manages a Claim or Lawsuit
- When do I Need to Consider Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer About the Loss of Your Loved One
What Causes Qualify As Wrongful Deaths?
Most wrongful death lawsuits stem from negligence accidents. This could include almost any incident that occurs because of someone’s carelessness or recklessness. When one party’s negligence causes another to suffer injuries, this generally supports a personal injury case. When they die from their injuries or complications, a wrongful death case is possible.
Some of the most common types of cases resulting in fatal injuries that we handle include:
- Bicycle accidents
- Birth injuries
- Boating accidents
- Auto accidents
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and falls
- Truck accidents
It is also possible for an intentional act to cause a wrongful death. This usually occurs when a crime victim dies from their injuries. This is possible in almost any violent crime, including domestic abuse, robbery, or rape. While the perpetrator will likely face criminal charges, a civil case will allow the victim’s surviving family members to recover compensation and get justice.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are two ways state laws usually approach wrongful death lawsuits. Some states allow close relatives to bring a lawsuit against the liable party. Others, including New York, strictly limit who sues based on a wrongful death.
Under New York law, only the deceased victim’s personal representative sues. This party is sometimes called the executor of the will or estate administrator. This could be a close family member, a trusted friend, or someone else named by the deceased party in their will or by the courts after their death.
Once the wrongful death lawyer handling the case negotiates a settlement or wins a court award, the money goes to the victim’s survivors or estate. This often includes the personal representative, but this does not have to be the case.
In general, unless there is a will, the order of who would receive compensation under New York law includes:
- The spouse, if there are no children
- The spouse and children, if there is a spouse and children
- The children, if there is no surviving spouse
- One or both parents if there is no surviving spouse or children
- Siblings or nieces and nephews of the deceased, if there are no other closer related relatives
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each case has a value determined by its own very specific merits. The amount and types of damages available depend entirely on the circumstances and evidence available. Your wrongful death attorney will value your claim for you as a part of handling the case.
Generally, we seek economic and non-economic damages for families facing the tragic loss of their loved ones. To this end, we often seek the following types of damages:
- Reasonable funeral and burial or cremation expenses
- Healthcare costs for the treatment the victim received after their injuries
- Income losses and other financial support provided by the victim
- The costs of support and services the victim previously provided
- Lost parental care and guidance
- Non-economic losses related to the victim’s conscious pain and suffering following the injury and before their death
Unlike some states, New York bars surviving loved ones from seeking non-economic compensation for their own mental anguish, emotional distress, and other intangible losses endured because of their loved one’s death. Your wrongful death attorney will explain more about what this means for your case during your initial consultation with their team.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney Manages a Claim or Lawsuit
When a family hires wrongful death lawyers to handle their case, they should expect their attorney to do the following:
- Keep them updated about their case
- Identify the liable parties
- Communicate with all parties on their behalf
- Gather evidence to prove the case
- Determine a value for the case
- Fight relentlessly to win the best possilble case result
Once they have strong evidence to support your claim, they will demand compensation from the insurance carrier representing the liable party or file the lawsuit and prepare to take the case to trial.
Most wrongful death law firms provide free case reviews and charge no upfront fees. They receive a portion of the compensation they secure in the case as attorney’s fees.
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When do I Need to Consider Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
New York law limits how long personal representatives have to file a lawsuit in a wrongful death case. While you must meet this deadline to protect your family’s right to recover compensation in the case, it is not usually the very most important factor supporting the great wisdom in taking prompt action. There are multiple reasons why taking action quickly is essential.
First, a wrongful death attorney will go to work protecting your rights and managing all communication about the case as soon as you hire them. This will ensure you do not fall victim to insurance carrier tactics to reduce the payout or other issues.
Second, we will begin our investigation as soon as you sign the contract. This could allow us to gather additional evidence to hold the at-fault party accountable. Some types of evidence disappear as time passes unless we preserve them for later use.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer About the Loss of Your Loved One
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., provides free consultations for families who have lost loved ones on Long Island and in the greater NYC area. You will find us to be patient, compassionate and comprehensive, as we learn about your accident and injuries.
We are here to handle your case and get justice for your loved one. Call for a free consultation or use our online contact form to connect with our team.