If you’re a surviving family member of someone who tragically lost their life because of apparent negligence and want to pursue a wrongful death claim in New York, do not hesitate to take action.
You can seek compensation for the damages caused by the regrettable event, including medical costs, funeral costs, lost income, pain and suffering of the deceased, the equivalent value for lost domestic services the deceased provided like childcare, and more.
You don’t have to shoulder the burden of your loved one’s passing alone. Start the process by calling Carner & DeVita at 631-380-4417 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
New York’s definition of wrongful death
In New York, a wrongful death lawsuit requires a number of minimal showings:
- There must have been a death
- The death must have been caused directly by the wrongful actions of the defendant
- Had the deceased survived, the wrongful actions of the defendant would have given them a legal cause of action to sue or make a personal injury claim
- There must be survivors who suffered a direct loss as a result of the death
- The loss must include damages the deceased’s estate is capable of recovering
While all of these elements are vital for a wrongful death case on Long Island to succeed, the “wrongful actions” component is critical. A “wrongful act” is a decision or behavior that a reasonable person would know was capable of causing harm. These include illegal actions as well as acts of negligence.
Here are a few examples of negligent acts:
- Making dangerous driving decisions, such as DWI, which caused a deadly car accident
- Failing to maintain safe premises, leading to an accident injury or exposure to harmful substances that caused a fatal illness
- Illegal acts, such as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
Who can file a wrongful death claim in New York
To claim these damages, an individual must be designated as the “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate. All damages awarded to this individual will be held in trust by the deceased’s representative for fair disbursement to all affected parties.
Most often, a surviving family member or individual designated in the deceased’s will can serve as the “personal representative” of the estate.
Even if you don’t know who the “personal representative” of the estate is, you can work with a knowledgeable Long Island wrongful death lawyer to help you determine your next steps. They can examine legal documentation to see if a personal representative of the deceased’s estate has been designated or if a trusted individual — usually a family member — would qualify.
Wrongful death claims have special deadlines. Make sure you file in time
In New York, you generally have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. It’s important to understand that this deadline begins on the date of the death, not the date of the incident that caused your loved one’s death. A victim may be in the hospital for weeks or months before passing away, which is why the time limit starts running on the date of their death.
There are several reasons why the statute of limitations exists for wrongful death, but one of the most important is the preservation of evidence. Biological evidence decays quickly, so to have a fair case, the lawsuit must be filed in time. If you don’t file within two years, you’ll lose the right to file altogether.
However, not every wrongful death claim is limited to the two-year deadline.
|Type of case||Time limit to file|
|Medical malpractice||2.5 years from the date of death|
|Pending criminal case against the person responsible for the death||1 year from the date the criminal case ends|
|Dram Shop Act (If death was caused by a drunk driver, whoever sold the intoxicated party the alcohol may be liable)||3 years|
Potential damages you could claim
The state of New York specifies that certain damages may be eligible for recovery under a wrongful death claim. These damages include:
- Medical and healthcare costs directly related to the deceased’s injury or illness that led to their passing
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Wages, benefits, and other income lost by the deceased between the date of their final injury/illness and the date of their death
- Loss of inheritance or other supportive earnings that would have been given to surviving children and family members
- Compensation for the lost support and home care services the deceased will no longer be able to provide
- Compensation for the loss of the ability of the deceased to provide childcare, nurturing, and guidance to their children
- Compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased
- 9% interest on the total damages awarded, calculated beginning on the date of death
Speak with a Long Island wrongful death lawyer at Carner & DeVita today
Wrongful death cases are complex, requiring the filing of numerous documents as well as vital court appearances. Missing a single deadline or failing to meet any of your obligations could easily derail your entire case.
Don’t let your right to assert a wrongful death claim fall by the wayside. You can start working with an attorney team that has 50 years of experience handling such cases when you reach out to Carner & DeVita now.
Call our Long Island personal injury lawyers at (631) 543-7070 or contact us online to receive a free, no-obligation consultation.