Rochester Wrongful Death Attorney
Dealing with the untimely death of a loved one is hard in any context. However, grieving loved ones may struggle more in situations where their loss could have and should have been prevented by another person or entity.
In these situations, the deceased’s family members should strongly consider having the personal representative of the estate file a wrongful death action against the party at-fault for negligently, recklessly, or intentionally causing the death. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, you could recover damages based on the costs incurred, services lost, and pain and suffering caused, among other factors.
Do not wait on your opportunity to pursue justice. Reach out to the dedicated Rochester wrongful death lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm to get a free case assessment for your first call to (718) 841-0083.
Identifying a Wrongful Death in Rochester
If you recently suffered the untimely loss of a loved one and believe that someone else may have been at fault for causing the death, you may have a case of wrongful death. As defined by New York law, a wrongful death is any death that is caused by a “wrongful act, neglect, or default” by another person or entity. To put this a different way, a wrongful act would be any type of behavior that would have created grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, were the victim to have survived.
Wrongful death lawsuits are available in cases of negligence, recklessness, and intentionally violent or harmful conduct. Situations that may frequently call for wrongful death lawsuits include fatalities resulting from car accidents, construction accidents, drownings, medical malpractice, and intentional violent crimes.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Rochester
Every state has different rules about who can file and recover from a wrongful death claim. While many states are lenient about who actually initiates the legal action in court, New York only allows for the personal representative of the deceased’s estate (also commonly known as the “executor”) to bring the lawsuit.
While the deceased’s family members may not initiate a wrongful death claim independently, they may serve as the filing party if they are also the personal representative. New York law does not prevent a family member (or beneficiary of the wrongful death lawsuit) from serving as the personal representative, nor do they require that the individual who serves as personal representative be a licensed attorney.
If the deceased died with a will, they likely indicated who should serve as the personal representative in their will. If they did not do so, the chosen individual does not wish to act as personal representative, or if the deceased died without a will, a court can name someone to act as the personal representative.
Calculating Wrongful Death Damages in Rochester
When a wrongful death lawsuit is successful in Rochester, the court will order that the defendant pay damages. Damages are paid directly to the deceased’s estate, where they are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the deceased’s will and state probate code. There is no way to predict how much any given case could return in damages without careful inspection of the specifics of that situation. However, courts will typically consider the following factors in a determination of damages for a wrongful death:
- Funeral, memorial, and burial expenses
- Reasonable health care expenses related to the deceased’s resulting condition
- Financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family
- The value of non-financial support and services the deceased would have provided to the family
- The value of parental nurturing, care, and guidance to surviving children
- Survivors’ lost inheritance
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased as a result of the wrongful act and resulting injuries or condition
- Interest on the damages award, calculated from the date of death
Courts may also choose to award additional punitive damages in certain cases. These types of cases will typically feature a particularly egregious level of recklessness or maliciousness on the part of the defendant.
Some examples of situations where punitive damages have been awarded in New York wrongful death cases in the past include medical malpractice cases involving fraud, drunk driving cases, products liability cases where the manufacturer knew of the defects and chose not to act, and nursing home abuse or neglect cases. While punitive damages are generally rare in wrongful death claims, it is imperative that you consult your Rochester wrongful death attorney about the possibility that they may be available to you, as these damages may be larger in value than the rest of the damages combined.
Time Limit on Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Rochester
If you hope to recover for the death of a loved one through a wrongful death action in Rochester, you must pay close attention to the State of New York’s statute of limitations. Generally, the statute of limitations provides a two-year window from the date of the death in question with which to prepare and file your formal complaint.
There are some exceptions to the statutory window. For instance, if the death was caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations runs for two and a half years from the date of death. If there is a separate criminal prosecution action ongoing against the defendant based on the same incident, the wrongful death claim may be filed up to one year after the criminal case has concluded, no matter the outcome.
In any case, it is typically better to file sooner rather than later so that evidence can be preserved easily and the beneficiaries get their monetary relief sooner rather than later. This is why we urge anyone considering their legal options to contact a Rochester wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Talk to Our Rochester Wrongful Death Lawyers for Free Today
When you contact The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 today, you can obtain a free first-time case assessment from our dedicated Rochester wrongful death attorneys.