How to File a Wrongful Death Claim After a Car Accident in NY
A wrongful death claim differs from typical civil claims because the injured person is no longer around. As such, family members often initiate these claims. The laws surrounding wrongful death are complex, and you should speak with an attorney soon about filing your case.
How you file a wrongful death claim can be hard to wrap your head around. The first thing you should do is contact an attorney about your wrongful death case. Your lawyer can guide you on your next steps and how your case should proceed. Next, work with your attorney to assess damages and gather evidence demonstrating the defendant’s negligence. Make sure all necessary defendants are included and that other family members who might have a stake in the outcome are notified. Finally, once everything is ready, draft and file the complaint that kicks off the lawsuit.
If your loved one passed away in an accident, our NY wrongful death lawyers can help you get started with a free case review if you call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.
Speak to an Attorney About Your Wrongful Death Claim in NY
The first step toward filing a wrongful death case is to contact an attorney with experience with these kinds of claims. Your attorney can review your case with you, including how your loved one passed away, how the defendant is involved, and what damages are at stake.
According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1(1), you may file a wrongful death claim if your loved one passed away due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful act. Such an act might involve causing an accident or failing to act when they otherwise were obligated to. Wrongful death claims may vary greatly, as numerous possible accidents and circumstances might have led to the deceased person’s passing.
Your attorney can advise you on the specifics of your case. For example, you might have lost a family member to a car accident. Maybe your loved one passed away because of a negligent doctor who provided medical treatment that did not meet the standard of care. These are very different situations that require different approaches and legal strategies. Having an experienced lawyer can put you on the right track.
Assess Damages to Begin Preparing Your NY Wrongful Death Case
Your next step is to figure out damages. This can be a particularly tricky issue in wrongful death claims, as so many damages might be on the table. On top of that, you must consider the damages you and your family have experienced because of the loss of your loved one, and you must consider damages your loved one incurred from the accident before passing away.
You should include damages your loved one incurred before they passed away. Put another way, you may claim damages your loved one could have claimed themselves in a personal injury claim if they survived the accident. For example, if you lost your family member in a car accident, you can claim the value of their damaged car and the hospital bills they incurred before succumbing to their injuries. Additionally, you may claim the pain and suffering your loved one endured before passing.
Next, you should evaluate your own damages and the damages of other family members who may be beneficiaries of the case. For example, a spouse might claim a deceased spouse’s lost income and financial support. If an older parent or grandparent lost an adult child who provided caregiving services, they may claim the value of those services. On top of all that, there are non-economic damages to consider, like the loss of consortium, companionship, and society.
Gather Evidence to Support Your Wrongful Death Claims in NY
Your next step in filing a wrongful death claim is to find evidence. What evidence you need and where you will find it depends on how your loved one passed away. Our Albany, NY wrongful death lawyers can help you determine what evidence you need.
For example, if you lost a loved one to a negligent doctor’s subpar treatment, your evidence may largely consist of medical records. If they died in a car accident, you might need details from the accident scene, like security camera or dashcam footage, witnesses, and police crash reports.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, or any lawsuit for that matter, you do not need enough evidence to meet your burden of proof, at least not right away. When you file the case, you only need enough evidence to show you have a valid cause of action. Essentially, you need to show the court that your claims are not baseless and have merit.
Identify the Parties Involved in Your NY Wrongful Death Case
Exactly whom you should name in your lawsuit depends on how your loved one’s accident occurred. In a medical malpractice situation, you could name the doctor, nurses, and the hospital for your loved one’s wrongful death. In a product liability case where your loved one was fatally injured by a defective item or good, you could sue the manufacturer and anyone else in the chain of sale.
Determining who should be involved on the plaintiff’s side of a wrongful death case can be tricky. First, you might not be able to file the case alone. New York law holds that a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file the case. This might be you if you were named as the representative or executor of your loved one’s estate. It might be someone else. The courts may appoint one for you if there is no personal representative.
Draft the Complaint and File the Wrongful Death Case in the Appropriate NY Court
Once you have all the important details, damages, and evidence ready, it is time to draft and file the complaint. This is easier said than done. A complaint is far more than a list of allegations and grievances. It must contain specific details about your case and lay the legal groundwork for the lawsuit.
You must clearly state how your loved one died, how the defendant is involved, and why the defendant is liable. Naturally, you need some evidence in the complaint to back up your allegations. Remember, you do not need all possible evidence in the complaint, just enough to show your claims have merit.
When claiming damages, you should include the damages of other family members affected by your loved one’s passing. Even though they might not be directly involved, they may be beneficiaries. Normally, eligible beneficiaries include the deceased person’s distributees, or people who would inherit. According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.4(a), damages are distributed according to how distributees would normally inherit under the deceased person’s will or probate laws.
If You Lost a Loved One Under Wrongful Circumstances, Call Our NY Wrongful Death Lawyers Now
Contact our Flatbush wrongful death attorneys of The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to schedule a free, confidential case assessment before filing your claims.