Certain family members can file a wrongful death claim in New York. According to New York Consolidated Law §4-1.1, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the deceased’s children, parents, spouse, or a representative of the estate.
Typically siblings and cousins of the deceased do not have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in New York unless they have also been named as a guardian or personal representative.
Don’t Wait to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York
A family can only sue for wrongful death damages in New York if there is still time to do so. New York Law §5-4.1 sets a general two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. If you do not file your claim within two years of your loved one’s death, you may lose your right to compensation.
A law firm that has experience handling wrongful death lawsuits can inform you of any changes to this deadline, depending on the specifics of your case. No matter how much time has passed, it’s worth reaching out to a wrongful death attorney to learn more about your options.
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Circumstances That Can Affect Who Gets Compensation
New York law prioritizes spouses and children in wrongful death cases. Below are some examples of who may sue for wrongful death and under what circumstances. A personal injury lawyer in New York can inform family members of their right to compensation. If the deceased had:
- A spouse and children: The spouse and children may collect compensation.
- A spouse but no children: The spouse may collect compensation.
- No spouse and no children: The parents may collect compensation.
- No spouse, children, or parents: The deceased’s siblings may collect compensation.
- No spouse, children, parents, or siblings: The grandparents may collect compensation.
Evidence in a New York Wrongful Death Claim
As a family member of the deceased, you and your personal injury lawyer will need to show evidence that proves that:
- The negligent act would have entitled the victim to file a claim had they survived.
- There are surviving distributes, children, or dependents of the victim.
- Monetary damages have resulted from the victim’s death.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Whether your loved one passed away in a motor vehicle crash or a construction accident, if another party’s negligence was the cause, the defendant may owe you compensation. You may be able to collect compensation from the following damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Costs of pre-death medical care
- Loss of services
- Loss of inheritance
- Pain and suffering endured by your loved one prior to their death
These are not the only types of damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit in New York. An attorney can help you identify any additional damages you can recover and estimate their value when they represent you.
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The Benefits of Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer can provide you with a wide range of services. If you decide to work with legal representation on your wrongful death case, they may be able to:
- Find evidence: Your lawyer can collect any evidence that can prove the responsible party’s liability and your damages.
- File paperwork: An attorney can file your insurance claim and/or wrongful death lawsuit as well as handle all legal forms and documents in your case.
- Negotiate with the insurance company: After filing your insurance claim, your lawyer can meet with the insurance company to negotiate for a settlement.
- Represent you on trial: If the responsible party’s insurance company refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, your case can go to trial and an attorney will argue your case in front of a judge or jury.
- Answer questions: Throughout the legal process, your attorney can answer any questions you may have, offer advice, and discuss possible outcomes of your case.
Many personal injury lawyers handle wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you would only be charged for attorney fees if and when your case is won and you recover compensation via a settlement offer or court award.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Case Take?
A wrongful death claim in New York may be completed within a few months, or it might take years. No two cases are alike. The length of the process will depend on the complexity of the case, the amount of evidence required, whether the case is settled or goes to trial, how much negotiation may be needed, and a court date.
Wrongful death cases are more complicated because your attorney will need to prove the case without the victim’s help, the courts need to be involved to appoint a representative for the estate, and the terms of the proposed settlement need to be approved.
Contact an Attorney at Morelli Law Firm Today
If your loved one passed away in New York due to another party’s negligence, Morelli Law Firm may be able to help your family file a wrongful death lawsuit. Let us get justice on your behalf while you navigate the grieving process.
On behalf of the team, we are truly sorry for your loss. Our lawyers represent families across New York City, Long Island, and up to Albany. We will attempt to obtain the financial compensation to which you may be entitled for your family.