Hempstead Wrongful Death Attorney

When dealing with the aftermath of the death of a loved one, you might find yourself and your family facing large expenses.  A wrongful death lawsuit might be available to help you and your family receive compensation for lost wages and other expenses related to your loved one’s death.

However, these lawsuits are often complex.  They usually involve two lawsuits filed as part of one case, filing rules that restrict you from filing directly in your name, and distribution rules that prioritize payments to the closest family members (spouses and children) before other family.

For help with your potential wrongful death lawsuit, call the Hempstead wrongful death attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.

Filing a Wrongful Death and Survival Action Case in Hempstead, NY

When filing a wrongful death case, your attorney might advise you that there are two potential lawsuits you can file as part of the same case: a wrongful death claim and a survival action.  Both claims can be filed as part of one case, and they both generally seek to help compensate the family of the deceased accident victim.  However, there are some technical differences in how damages are paid and which damages are paid through which action.  Our Hempstead wrongful death attorneys explain the difference:

Survival Action

When someone is injured in an accident or because of someone else’s negligence, they can often file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault parties to seek damages.  If they die from the accident, that right to file a lawsuit, under New York law, passes to the personal representative of their estate.  This person is usually appointed in a will or by the court if they have no will.  This kind of claim is authorized under E.P.T. Law § 11-3.2(b).

The goal of this lawsuit is to reimburse the deceased’s estate for the damages suffered before death.  That can include things like the deceased’s medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages before death.  It can also include the pain and suffering they faced before passing.  Additionally, if the victim’s funeral and burial expenses were paid by the estate, these damages can be reimbursed through this lawsuit.  If you have any questions about what damages come under this lawsuit, speak with our Hempstead wrongful death attorneys.

Unfortunately, no punitive damages are allowed in these lawsuits.

The damages in this lawsuit are paid back into the estate rather than being paid to the family directly.  However, these payments will ultimately fall to the victim’s family along with the rest of the money and property in their estate, either under the rules of the victim’s will or E.P.T. Law § 4-1.1 if they died without a will.

Wrongful Death Action

While a survival action reimburses the victim’s estate for the damages the victim faced before death, the wrongful death action reimburses the victim’s family for the effects of their loved one’s death.  This lawsuit is authorized under E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1 and is also filed by the personal representative of the deceased.

The damages paid in this lawsuit are paid directly to the deceased’s heirs.  This allows anyone listed in § 4-1.1 who would be entitled to a share of the victim’s estate to receive payments for their damages under the distribution rules in that statute.  This is the same statute that would govern how the estate is distributed if the victim died without a will, but it applies to wrongful death lawsuits whether or not there is a will.

The court ultimately decides how to apportion these damages.  Typically, these rules allow the victim’s spouse and children to get the majority of the damages in this lawsuit first.  If there are no children, then just the spouse takes the damages instead; if there is no spouse, then the victim’s parents can take the damages.  This law goes on and on, giving shares to parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc. if there are no closer relatives to receive compensation.  Speak with a Hempstead wrongful death lawyer to see if you are entitled to a share of the damages in the potential case.

The damages that are paid through this lawsuit can include anything listed under E.P.T. Law § 5-4.3, which we go into further detail about below.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As mentioned, E.P.T. Law § 5-4.3 governs the damages authorized in a wrongful death lawsuit.  The wording of this statute simply includes “pecuniary” damages that result from the death.  Our Hempstead wrongful death lawyers can help you understand what damages are included in this category on a case-by-case basis.  However, the following damages are potentially available in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Lost wages that the deceased would have continued receiving if they had lived
  • Lost household services brought on by the victim’s death
  • Lost support
  • Other economic damages

“Pecuniary” damages are typically called “economic” damages, in that they have some financial cost associated with them.  This primarily includes monetary harm and expenses that occur because of the death.  Non-economic damages like grief, pain and suffering for the family, or lost companionship are not typically allowed.

Additionally, you can claim damages for any expenses your family paid out of pocket (rather than through the estate) for end-of-life medical care, funeral and burial expenses, etc.

The law in NY often limits damages in surprising ways, so it is important to always discuss your case with a lawyer to determine what damages you are entitled to and how those damages are distributed.  Our Hempstead wrongful death lawyers can help with these complex rules.

Call Our Hempstead Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

If you lost a loved one in an accident or because of someone else’s negligence, call our Hempstead wrongful death attorneys today.  At The Carrion Law Firm, we offer free case reviews.  Call us today at (718) 841-0083.