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Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

Posted By Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. || 13-Jan-2017

There is nothing more devastating than the death of a loved one, and if that was the direct result of the negligent, reckless, or careless actions of another, the heartache and grief can be overwhelming. In addition, aside from the loss of love and companionship, you may also be left with enormous medical and funeral bills and the loss of income. New York State recognizes the surviving relatives right to bring a lawsuit to seek compensation for these losses. This case is known as a “wrongful death” claim. New York sets strict rules on who can file a claim, the damages that can be awarded, the deadline to file, and how to establish negligence.

  1. Proving negligence: Under New York law, to establish negligence in a wrongful death case, a claimant must show that the loved one’s death was directly caused by the defendants’ negligent conduct.
  2. Parties who can file: In New York, only a "personal representative” of the deceased’s estate appointed by the Surrogate’s Court of New York may bring a wrongful death claim. Under New York State law, this person must be New York State resident who is a beneficiary of the deceased. The personal representative acts on behalf of all the family members to recover damages for them, and any money that is awarded through a trial or by settlement is overseen by the Surrogate’s Court, which will determine the amounts each family member receives.
  3. Compensation for survivors: The damages the survivors may recover include funeral expenses and medical expenses, lost income and support provided to survivors, loss of guidance. Further, if there was pain and suffering of the deceased during the period before death that was caused by the negligent acts of the defendant, the injuries, pain and suffering are sued for. Each case is different and each award depends on the specific circumstances of each particular claim.
  4. Time limits for taking action: The personal representatives of a deceased’s estate have a limited amount of time in which to file a claim for wrongful death This deadline is known as the statute of limitations and in New York, all wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date on which a person died. Failure to take legal action by this time means you cannot sue or recover any money.

Legal Help for Wrongful Death Claims

Few experiences in life can be more emotionally challenging than the death of a loved one. While nothing can make up for your loss, holding the responsible parties legally accountable may help you to move forward in the wake of a tragedy. At Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C., our New York wrongful death attorneys can help you seek justice. We possess 100+ years of combined experience and have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients.

Are you ready to take action? Call (855) 295-4737 or request a free consultation online to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your claim.

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