New York City (NYC) Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a loved one is never easy for surviving members of a family. When the death comes about suddenly and without warning, as occurs with car accidents or drownings, its effect on the family can be devastating.
If you suffered a tragic loss caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of another party, the last thing you might be thinking about is suing for damages. We understand how you feel, but losing the financial contributions made by your loved one creates a burden that a wrongful death claim can ease. We give you the chance to focus on grieving, knowing that our outstanding personal injury attorney is aggressively pursuing the justice and compensation your family deserves.
For a free case assessment with our wrongful death attorneys, call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work in New York City?
When the negligence, intentional conduct, or reckless behavior of another person or entity results in a death, the surviving family members might bring legal action against the responsible party.
The wrongful death claim seeks compensation that might include the loss of financial support provided by the deceased, including future financial contributions and services the deceased can no longer provide. It can also include the loss of the love, comfort, affection, protection, and companionship of the deceased.
Wrongful death statutes differ from one state to another, but the claim for damages is usually brought on behalf of the surviving spouse and children of the deceased. Depending upon the surviving family members, parents, grandchildren, siblings, and others might also be entitled to share in the compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim.
Categories of Wrongful Death Claims in New York City
Following a wrongful death in New York City, there are two primary categories of claims that can be made. The first type is the wrongful death claim, which seeks to provide compensation for the losses suffered by the family members as a direct result of the death. The second type of claim is known as a survival claim, which is filed on behalf of the deceased individual’s estate.
Both types of claims are complex and require the expertise of an experienced wrongful death attorney to navigate. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a wrongful death in New York City, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney who can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the claims process.
Wrongful Death Claim
In New York City, E.P.T. Law § 5-4.3 sets out specific guidelines for the types of damages that can be granted in these cases. Under this law, only pecuniary damages, which are financial losses resulting from the death of the individual, can be awarded in a wrongful death claim. Examples of pecuniary damages include the loss of income the deceased would have provided had they lived, the value of services they would have provided, and funeral and burial expenses.
However, wrongful death claims do not cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or emotional distress. However, in cases where the deceased suffered conscious pain and suffering before their death as a result of the defendant’s actions, compensation for this suffering might be recoverable through a separate survival claim.
A survival claim is considered to be a separate entity from a wrongful death claim, although they have a common origin. While a wrongful death claim compensates for the losses that the family members have suffered, a survival claim is aimed at recovering damages that the deceased themselves have suffered during their lifetime. These damages cover the period between the time of the injury and the time of their death.
Survival claims are essentially personal injury claims that continue to exist even after the victim’s death. They provide the estate of the deceased with an opportunity to recover damages for the pain and suffering that the victim had to endure during the time of their injury, as well as for any medical expenses incurred during this period. In other words, the survival claim seeks to compensate the victim’s estate for the losses that the victim would have been entitled to recover if they had survived their injuries.
Parties that Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim in New York City
E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1 governs who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in New York City. Unlike some states where immediate family members might directly file a wrongful death claim, in New York, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can take legal action. This personal representative is an individual typically appointed by the court to manage the deceased’s estate. They have the responsibility of gathering the deceased’s assets, paying off any debts or taxes, distributing the remaining assets to the heirs, and representing the estate in legal matters.
The personal representative acts on behalf of the deceased’s estate and surviving family members. They file the claim, negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company or attorney, and, if necessary, represent the estate in court. Furthermore, any damages awarded in a successful wrongful death claim are first granted to the estate and then distributed to the deceased’s heirs according to their rights under the law and the deceased’s will if one exists.
Parties that Can Recover Damages in a New York City Wrongful Death Claim
While the personal representative is responsible for filing the wrongful death claim, they do not keep the damages awarded. According to E.P.T. Law § 4-1.1(a), when a person dies, their property, assets, and other belongings are collectively referred to as their estate. In the event that the decedent is survived by a spouse and children, the law stipulates that the spouse is entitled to the first $50,000 of the estate plus half of the remaining balance. The other half of the remaining balance is then divided equally among the decedent’s children.
However, if the decedent is survived by a spouse but has no children, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse. On the other hand, if the deceased person has no surviving spouse, but children are present, then the children receive the entire estate, divided equally among them.
In the event that the decedent has no surviving spouse or children, the estate will be distributed among the decedent’s parents, siblings, or more distant relatives in a specific order of priority. First in line to inherit are the decedent’s parents, followed by any siblings or their children. If no living siblings or their descendants exist, then the estate will pass to more distant relatives according to the order established by law.
Making the Party Responsible for Your Loss Pay Damages in New York City
A wrongful death claim might be filed whenever the negligent, reckless, or deliberate conduct of another party results in a death. Some types of conduct, such as an assault, might result in criminal charges brought by the state against the wrongdoer. The family of the victim has the right to pursue a wrongful death claim independent of the criminal case.
Wrongful death claims might arise from a variety of situations, such as car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, bus and public transit accidents, construction and workplace accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, product liability claims, Uber and Lyft accidents, drunk driving accidents, and drowning accidents.
Whether the circumstances under which a person dies prove it was caused by the fault of another party might not be clear. It might take a thorough investigation and analysis of the evidence by an experienced attorney to determine if a wrongful death claim exists.
Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York City
The deadline for filing a wrongful death claim is governed by what is known as the “statute of limitations.” In New York City, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is typically two years from the date of the victim’s death under E.P.T. Law § 4-1.1.
This means that the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has exactly two years from the date of the death to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Failure to file within this timeframe can lead to the dismissal of the case, effectively barring the survivors from seeking the damages they might be entitled to.
Given the stringent timeline dictated by the statute of limitations, it is of utmost importance that the families of the victims act swiftly. The process of filing a wrongful death claim involves several steps, including gathering evidence, consulting with experts, and building a strong case, all of which can be time-consuming. Delay in initiating this process might result in missing the deadline, thus forfeiting the right to seek compensation.
Our New York City Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
Contact The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to receive a free case review from our wrongful death lawyers today.