Staten Island Wrongful Death Lawyer

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    If you lost a loved one under circumstances caused by another’s carelessness, you should speak to a lawyer about filing a wrongful death claim. Our lawyers can help you file a claim if you believe the your loved one’s passing is directly related to another’s negligent behavior. Common examples of wrongful death cases include car accidents, medical malpractice, and drowning accidents. Speak to a lawyer soon, as most people have only 2 years to file their case.

    Before filing the case, we need to identify the personal representative of your loved one’s estate, as the case needs to be filed in their name. We should also identify damages, including economic losses and costs and, to a more limited extent, non-economic injuries. These damages may be distributed in proportion to the losses suffered by distributees.

    Get in touch with our wrongful death attorneys for a free initial case evaluation by calling The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.

    What Might Be Considered a Wrongful Death Claim on Staten Island

    What exactly makes a death wrongful in a legal sense? Determining whether you have a valid civil claim for damages after losing a loved one can be hard, as the grief of losing a loved one can make it feel wrongful.

    According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1(1), a wrongful death claim must pertain to a “wrongful act” that causes someone’s death for which the defendant would have been liable to the deceased person if they had survived. Put another way, if the deceased person could have sued the defendant if they survived, then their family may file a wrongful death claim.

    This legal definition is somewhat broad. Under this law, many different types of cases may be considered wrongful death claims if the person in the middle of it passes away. Some commonly filed wrongful death claims seen by our wrongful death attorneys include car accidents, medical malpractice, and drowning accidents.

    Car accident cases are some of the most common. After a fatal accident, families may file wrongful death claims against the driver who caused the crash.

    Medical malpractice cases involve doctors who injure patients by providing negligent medical treatment that falls below the standard of care. If your loved one passed away because of medical negligence, you can sue the doctor and the hospital for damages in a wrongful death claim.

    Drowning accidents happen more often in the spring and summer when people go to the beach or open their pools. If your loved one accidentally drowned, you might be able to sue the person who owned the pool. Alternatively, you might sue the person who was responsible for supervising the pool or your loved one.

    How Much Time You Have to File a Wrongful Death Case on Staten Island

    According to the same law discussed before, you have a limited time to bring claims for wrongful death. Generally, plaintiffs have 2 years from the date of death to get their cases into court. It is important to note that the limitation period begins on the date of your loved one’s passing, not necessarily the day they are initially injured.

    Under E.P.T. Law § 5-4.1(2), if the defendant is prosecuted for crimes related to your loved one’s wrongful death, you may have 1 year from the date that criminal action ends or is terminated. Depending on when your loved one passed away and when the defendant is criminally charged, this might add time to your case.

    For example, if your loved one passed away in a terrible car accident, but the other driver fled the scene and could not be found for several years, the statute of limitations might expire before you can file a civil claim. However, if the other driver is eventually apprehended and criminally prosecuted by the authorities, you might have another year to file your claims.

    Talk to our wrongful death lawyer about whether criminal action against the defendant might give you more time to file a civil case. Wrongful death cases often overlap with criminal charges. It is rather common for defendants to face criminal charges related to wrongful death claims.

    People Allowed to File Wrongful Death Cases on Staten Island

    You may or may not be able to file a wrongful death claim, depending on your relationship with the deceased person. Generally, only the deceased person’s personal representative may file the claim on behalf of certain immediate family members. Spouses, children, and parents are typically eligible to receive damages. If no such relatives exist, other extended family members might be eligible.

    All wrongful death cases must be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative, according to E.P.T. law § 5-4.1(1). The personal representative essentially files the case on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. Often, the personal representative is named in the deceased person’s will. It is often a close family member, friend, or possibly the deceased person’s lawyer.

    If no personal representative is identified, a lawyer can help you have one appointed by the court. We might petition the court to appoint a personal representative so that your case can move forward.

    While a personal representative must file the case, they might not be the only person involved. The case is usually for the benefit of the deceased person’s “distributees.” This includes close family members, like kids, spouses, and parents, and possible more extended family members, depending on the circumstances.

    Damages Typically Available in Staten Island Wrongful Death Cases

    The damages in your wrongful death claim should reflect the numerous losses and expenses connected to your family member’s passing. Damages in these types of claims tend to be substantial, and you should go over all your damages with a lawyer to make sure they are correctly calculated.


    According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.3(a), damages in a wrongful death case may include numerous economic injuries and losses. Losing a family member often has a financial ripple effect across other relatives, and you should be compensated accordingly.

    Your family may claim damages related to the money your loved one was earning and how much they financially supported you and others. For example, a surviving spouse might claim the value of their spouse’s income. This is especially important in cases where the deceased person was the sole provider for their family. Another possibility is that the deceased person supported you in other ways. Maybe they provided important caregiving services because you are sick. You may claim the cost of replacing those services.

    We should also consider the immediate costs of losing a loved one. The cost of funerals, medical bills, and burial costs should all be calculated and added to your damages.


    Non-economic damages for wrongful death are very limited. The statute mentioned above does not include any claims for non-economic damages. As such, plaintiffs often cannot claim things like grief, sorrow, emotional distress, or the loss of companionship in a wrongful death case in New York.

    However, plaintiffs may claim non-economic damages related to things the deceased person experienced before death. Damages for the deceased person’s conscious pain and suffering before death are usually available, depending on how they died and what they went through. Such damages are often part of survival actions, which pertain to damages suffered by the victim rather than surviving family members.

    These damages are related to the pain, emotional anguish, fear, and other suffering the deceased person might have experienced before passing away. If your loved one did not pass away immediately, we should consider claiming damages for their conscious pain and suffering. Maybe they were conscious after the accident and were very afraid. Maybe they endured significant bodily pain before passing away.

    How Damages May Be Divided in a Staten Island Wrongful Death Case

    According to E.P.T. Law § 5-4.4(a), damages are for the exclusive benefit of distributees, or people legally entitled to inherit. Distributees usually include immediate family members including spouses, children, and parents. Others might be considered distributees if no closer relatives exist.

    Generally, damages are distributed according to the extent of each person’s loss. For example, suppose a spouse spent $10,000 on the deceased person’s medical care. Maybe their adult children helped with expenses by paying $5,000 toward funeral costs. If that is the case, each person may receive damages equal to what they spent or lost.

    In survival actions, damages are paid directly to the deceased person’s estate before being distributed according to the terms of a will. Under § 4-1.1(a), if a deceased person does not leave a will indicating who their distributees are or how they wish for their estate to be distributed, the estate will be divided as follows:

    If the deceased person leaves behind a spouse but no children, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse. If they leave behind children but no surviving spouse, the estate goes entirely to the children.

    If one or both of the deceased person’s parents are left and there is no spouse or children, the estate goes to the parent or parents.

    If the deceased person leaves behind no spouse, children, or parents, but they do leave behind siblings, the siblings may take the estate.

    If the deceased person had no parents, spouse, siblings, or children, grandparents, aunts, and uncles may be entitled to take the estate.

    If there are no parents, spouses, children, siblings, grandparents, aunts, or uncles, other extended relatives, like grandchildren or great-grandchildren, may be entitled to the estate.

    Generally, friends or other loved ones who are not related by blood or marriage are not considered distributees unless they are specifically named in the will.

    Evidence Necessary to Prove Wrongful Death Claims on Staten Island

    Evidence is what keeps a case alive. Without it, your case may quickly fall apart. The more evidence we can gather to support your claims, the stronger your case may be, and the more likely you will succeed in getting fair compensation for the loss of your family member.

    First, we can obtain copies of your loved one’s medical records. More specifically, we need records related to any treatment your loved one may have received after being injured but before passing away. These records can help us establish the cause of your loved one’s death as determined by medical professionals. If your loved one did not receive medical care because they passed away very quickly, we can use reports and records from the medical examiner who conducted an autopsy.

    Next, we must have evidence of the accident or incident that caused death. Suppose your loved one passed away in a drowning accident in a swimming pool. In that case, we need evidence of who owned the pool, whether safety precautions were taken, and anything else that connects the defendant to the accident.

    We also need evidence of damages. If you claim the loss of your spouse’s income, we need evidence of how much their income is worth. Pay stubs or other information from their employer may be extremely helpful. You should also keep receipts for things like funeral and burial costs.

    What Our Legal Team Can Do to Help Your Staten Island Wrongful Death Case

    As you can imagine, filing a wrongful death case can be a complicated legal endeavor. An experienced lawyer can be there for you and your family during what is undoubtedly a very difficult time.

    First, your attorney can help you file your case. This might require identifying a personal representative or having one appointed by the courts if there is no representative. Your attorney can also help you draft the legal paperwork needed to start the case. While paperwork is not exactly the most exciting part of a lawsuit, it is extremely important. If information is vague, details are lacking, or formatting requirements are not strictly followed, the court could push back on your case, preventing it from moving forward.

    Your attorney will also help you gather evidence. Evidence is unique to each case. Your lawyer should be able to review the details of your loved one’s accident and determine what kind of evidence you need and where to find it. In cases where evidence is harder to obtain, an attorney’s help might be priceless.

    Contact Our Staten Island Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help

    Get in touch with our wrongful death attorneys for a free initial case evaluation by calling The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.