Queens Wrongful Death Attorney

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    Wrongful death cases can be extremely confusing. Many families do not know that the option of filing a wrongful death case is available to them, and they instead rely on things like life insurance to cover their needs. If your loved one was killed in an accident or if they were intentionally killed, you could be entitled to more.

    A Queens wrongful death attorney can review your case and help you determine whom to sue and what damages you can hold them responsible for. Courts often award damages to spouses and children of deceased accident victims, as well as damages to parents of children killed in accidents. A murder victim’s family could also be entitled to substantial compensation.

    For help seeking justice for a loved one’s death, call our wrongful death attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm today for a free case review. Our number is (718) 841-0083.

    How Do I Know My Loved One’s Death Was Wrongful in Queens?

    Knowing you have a wrongful death case on your hands is not always easy. It always feels wrong to lose a loved one, and many people have a swirling mix of painful emotions. People sometimes want justice when nobody is really responsible for the death. Your first step should be to speak to an attorney about the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s passing.

    Often, a wrongful death claim may be filed if the deceased person could have sued for their injuries on their own had they survived. For example, if your loved one passed away after being hit by a car, you might have a wrongful death claim because injured pedestrians may often sue for such accidents. If they do not survive, their families may take up a wrongful death case.

    If you are unsure, talk to a lawyer anyway. You have a limited time to bring legal action for a wrongful death, and the clock might already be ticking away.

    Suing for a Wrongful Death in Queens

    A wrongful death case can typically be filed any time someone dies in a way that can be legally blamed on another party. In a wrongful death case, the defendant can be a person or a company. It can also be a person accused of either negligence or an intentional act that caused the death.

    Who to Sue

    As mentioned, both companies and individuals can be sued for wrongful death. Most cases of murder are going to be filed against an individual. However, cases dealing with negligence could be filed against an individual or a company.

    Wrongful death cases filed against individuals often include claims involving premises liability injury (e.g., slip and falls or deadly fires), deadly car accident cases, and medical malpractice lawsuits.

    Cases filed against companies can similarly include auto accidents, but these cases more commonly involve suing trucking, bus, and other transportation companies for their drivers’ mistakes and other violations. In some cases, medical malpractice cases can also be filed against hospitals or healthcare facilities. Other wrongful death claims against companies can involve defective product injuries, pharmaceutical injuries, and more.

    Our wrongful death attorneys can help you identify the right person or entity to file your wrongful death lawsuit against.

    Negligence Cases

    Wrongful death claims involving negligence are more common than claims of intentional murder. People are killed in accidents every day involving dangerous drivers, dangers on someone else’s property, or errors during medical procedures. Claims for these mistakes can help compensate you for a loved one’s death.

    For a negligence case to succeed, you must prove that the wrongful death occurred because the defendant breached a legal duty they owed your loved one. The violation of drunk driving laws is a clear example of a breach of duty that can justify a wrongful death lawsuit. Other cases are based on a doctor failing to uphold the standard of care, a company manufacturing dangerous products with a risk of electric shock, or a property owner failing to repair a dangerous handrail on a balcony.

    If there is evidence that these kinds of mistakes were the direct, proximate cause of your loved one’s death, our wrongful death attorneys may be able to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit.

    Intentional Killings

    Although intentional killings like murder and manslaughter are often handled in criminal court, you can file a wrongful death court in civil court as well for many of these deaths. If the killer is facing criminal charges, the purpose of those charges will be to punish them for the killing. However, your family could be entitled to damages that will help you move forward through a civil lawsuit.

    The burden of proof is much lower in civil cases than in criminal cases. This means many cases that lose in criminal court could still succeed in a civil case. Additionally, many cases that fall short of the technical definition of a crime could still be tried in civil court as negligence cases instead of murder or manslaughter cases.

    Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Case in Queens

    Most of us, if not everyone, will lose someone close to them at some point. While many deaths are due to natural causes, many others occur under wrongful circumstances. A question arises: who can file a claim for wrongful death?

    Many people are surprised to find that they cannot file a wrongful death claim on their own. Wrongful death cases are complex and not solely about the surviving family members left behind. They are about the victim who is no longer here to represent themselves in court. As such, according to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1(1), a personal representative of the deceased person must be the one to file the lawsuit.

    The next question is, who is a personal representative? This question is often answered in the deceased person’s will and other documents pertaining to end-of-life arrangements. Many people name someone of their own choosing as a personal representative of their estate. This might be a spouse, family member, close friend, or even their attorney.

    If you are unsure who the personal representative is for your loved one’s estate, talk to an attorney. If there is no personal representative, we can work with the courts to appoint one for your case.

    How Much Time You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Queens

    In almost any civil lawsuit, claims must be filed with the court before a specific deadline. Exactly what this deadline is depends on the nature of the claim and the statute of limitations relevant to the case. In New York, wrongful death cases must be filed no later than 2 years after the date of the deceased person’s death.

    This date might be less than clear in some cases. Many people who pass away under wrongful circumstances do not immediately succumb to their injuries. As such, the statute of limitations might not always begin on the date the victim was hurt. For example, if your loved one were injured in a car accident but did not pass away for two weeks, the statute of limitations would begin two weeks after the accident.

    There might be exceptions to this rule. For example, if the plaintiff is a child who wants to sue for the death of a parent, they might be unable to bring the case on their own. As such, the deadline might be extended to when the child turns 18. This problem might arise when there is no other family to bring the case on behalf of the child.

    Damages for Wrongful Death Cases in Queens, NY

    In most wrongful death cases, two separate claims can be filed: a survival action and a wrongful death action. The survival action is essentially the lawsuit that your loved one could have filed if they survived the accident, and it is brought to pay benefits to the deceased’s estate and the deceased’s heirs. The wrongful death action is meant to compensate the surviving family for the expenses they faced because of the death.

    An experienced wrongful death lawyer can go over your case with you and help you determine what damages you are entitled to in your specific case. Between these two types of lawsuits, the following damages are often available, among other damages:

    Funeral and Burial Costs

    According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.3(a), reasonable damages can be claimed for a loved one’s funeral and burial costs. Although life insurance money might cover some of these expenses, the parties responsible for your loved one’s death should be held liable for these costs.

    End of Life Medical Care

    Whether your loved one died in a sudden accident or after a turn for the worse during a long recovery, you can claim damages for their medical expenses. This can help pay for their end-of-life care, potentially including things like hospice care and procedures in the ER or at a hospital.

    Lost Wages

    If your lost loved one was responsible for your family’s income to any degree, those lost wages might be necessary to help your family move forward. These lawsuits can help cover those damages.

    Pain and Suffering

    If a loved one died in a painful way or they lingered for a while between the accident and their death, their pain and suffering might be severe. These pain and suffering damages can be claimed in a lawsuit for a loved one’s death. However, you cannot claim damages for your surviving family’s pain and suffering. Certain non-economic damages might be claimed – such as lost companionship – but not the pain and suffering of losing a loved one.

    How Damages May Be Distributed Among the Victim’s Family in a Queens Wrongful Death Case

    Damages in wrongful death claims may be quite substantial, but the people involved in these cases are often unsure of how damages are distributed. While some damages are awarded to the deceased person’s estate, other damages are not. So, how is everything distributed once damages are awarded?

    According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.4(a), damages may be distributed to the deceased person’s distributees. This typically includes surviving spouses and children, including non-marital children. If there are no surviving spouses or children, surviving parents may be considered distributees.

    The personal representative is in charge of distributing damages. First, the personal representative may distribute economic or questionary damages to those who incurred those costs. For example, if you paid for the entire funeral, you would be paid back for those expenses.

    Non-economic damages are where things get a bit more complicated. The proportions of each beneficiary’s share may be determined by the court. The personal representative is your point of contact for these issues, and you can talk to them about how damages will be distributed. If you are worried about how things are distributed, speak to an attorney about the issue.

    Finding Evidence to Support Your Wrongful Death Claims in Queens

    The evidence we need to support your claims may vary based on the circumstances of your loved one’s passing and the nature of the damages you wish to claim. When proving how your loved one passed away, we might rely heavily on medical records. These medical records might be quite extensive if your loved one began treatment before ultimately succumbing to injuries. If your loved one passed away almost immediately, we might need the results of an autopsy.

    Once our wrongful death attorneys have enough evidence to establish a cause of death, we need evidence that connects the defendant to your loved one’s passing. For example, if your loved one passed away in a car accident, we need some evidence showing how the defendant caused the accident. Witness testimony, security camera footage, and details from police reports might be crucial to your case.

    We also need evidence specifically about your damages. If you claim the lost income your deceased spouse would have provided for your household, we need some sort of records of their income and earnings. If you want to claim funeral expenses, we need receipts for these costs.

    Damages for things like loss of consortium, parental love, and other non-economic damages are a bit more complex. We might need evidence showing how the loss of your loved one has changed your life and how your family has had to adjust to make up for such a grievous loss.

    Call Our Queens Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help

    If you lost a loved one in an accident, call The Carrion Law Firm today. Our wrongful death lawyers can help hold the responsible companies or individuals accountable for your loss. For a free case review, call us at (718) 841-0083.