Poughkeepsie Wrongful Death Attorney
A death in the family can upend your entire life. If you lost a spouse or a parent, you and the rest of your family could be left without income to support yourselves, as well as other harms. Working with a lawyer, you might be able to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you need for your loss.
While compensation will not replace a loved one, it will help your family deal with the financial impact of the loss and help you move forward. However, there are many complex intricacies to these cases that you should turn to an attorney for help with.
Reach out to the compassionate wrongful death attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm today by calling (718) 841-0083.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Poughkeepsie, NY?
The right to file a lawsuit for a loved one’s death often falls on only specific parties. Many family members – such as siblings or dating partners – might not get the legal right to receive damages for these claims, and damages often go to only particular family members.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Personal Representative
Under E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1(1), a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the “personal representative” of the deceased victim. This is a person appointed either in the victim’s will or by the courts. This means that the actual person to go to court and file the case is not necessarily a family member at all, but rather this representative. In most cases, people will pick a family member to be their personal representative, but it could be an attorney or another person the deceased would have trusted.
Wrongful Death Damages Distributed to Family
Regardless of who files, the damages paid in the case are paid to family members. A combination of § 5-4.4 and § 4-1.1 lays out the instructions for who receives damages for a wrongful death lawsuit, starting with the victim’s spouse (if they had one). If they had children and a spouse, then they will share damages; if they had no spouse, then it all passes to the children. Parents can also receive compensation in many cases, especially if the victim had no spouse or children.
Damages can also pass to further relations, such as siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, and so on. However, there is no provision that allows damages to fall to dating partners or unmarried partners, even if you were in a long-term relationship or shared children. However, if you did share children with the deceased, then those children in your care should be able to receive benefits under this lawsuit. This law is complex, so it is always important to work with a wrongful death attorney who can help you understand whether you can receive damages and what share of the wrongful death damages are yours.
The rules used to distribute these damages are more or less the same laws that dictate “intestate succession.” That is, these are the laws under which someone’s estate is distributed when someone dies without a will. These laws are modified slightly for purposes of who gets wrongful death damages.
The personal representative of the deceased can also bring a lawsuit to recover damages that the victim could have sued for had they survived the accident under E.P.T. Law § 11-3.2. This is called a “survival action” and is a bit different from the “wrongful death” lawsuit.
These damages, unlike the damages in a wrongful death case, are distributed according to the deceased’s will. This means these damages could ultimately be paid to dating partners, friends, or any other parties named in the will.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case in Poughkeepsie, NY
As mentioned, wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions pay different damages to different parties. The wrongful death lawsuit is filed to recover compensation for the family for the damages they faced when their loved one died. Under New York law, this covers only “pecuniary” damages – that is, economic damages. This means that families can claim compensation for lost wages the victim will no longer provide as well as other expenses related to the death. That often covers end-of-life medical care, funeral expenses, burial costs, and more.
The family cannot sue for their own non-economic damages. There have been movements in the past few years to expand New York law to allow families to claim damages for grief and their own pain and suffering, but they have yet to pass. There are, however, certain laws that might allow some additional non-economic damages for minors, including lost parental guidance.
Damages in a survival action can be a bit broader. These claims cover the damages that the victim would have been able to sue for if they had survived the accident. For example, if your loved one was killed in a car accident, then this lawsuit would cover things like their medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and pain and suffering from the accident. Note here that the pain and suffering covered is the victim’s pain and suffering, not the family’s pain and suffering.
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases Our Attorneys Handle
Our wrongful death lawyers handle a wide range of accident cases, and we can help you with a wrongful death lawsuit for any of the following accidents if they resulted in the death of a loved one. We can also help with other types of cases not listed here.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury and death our attorneys can help with. Additionally, we handle wrongful death accidents involving workplace injuries, construction accidents, and other catastrophic accidents.
Many deaths are also caused by everyday accidents that might result in surprisingly severe injuries, such as slip and falls, falls from heights, and product injury cases. If your loved one suffered a serious head injury in a fall, we can help you seek compensation for their death. Additionally, we can fight for financial compensation from negligent manufacturers of defective auto parts, dangerous pharmaceuticals, and even defective household appliances and power tools.
Drownings and electrocution deaths are also surprisingly common causes of wrongful death.
For a Free Review of Your Wrongful Death Case, Call Our Poughkeepsie Attorneys
Call (718) 841-0083 to receive a free case review from the wrongful death lawyers at The Carrion Law firm.