To better understand how a wrongful death claim works in regard to your specific case, you may want to call a law firm for a free consultation where you can ask multiple questions. In general, the wrongful death claims process may follow this procedure:
- You file a notice of claim with the negligent party’s insurance company or to a municipality if the local government may be liable for your loved one’s death.
- You calculate your damages to determine the amount of compensation you would like to pursue in your wrongful death claim and send your demand letter to the appropriate party.
- The insurance company or municipality may assess your demand and send a settlement offer based on policy terms, who was at fault, and whether they believe you are entitled to certain damages.
- You and your lawyer consider the settlement offer and determine whether it is fair. If not, your lawyer may return the offer and initiate the negotiation process.
Not all claims negotiations end in a settlement amount, though many do. If necessary, your lawyer may suggest filing a wrongful death lawsuit to continue your pursuit of compensation. The claims process may take weeks, months, and in some cases, even more than a year. Your lawyer can guide you through this process and update you on how your case is progressing.
Wrongful Death Claims Allow Surviving Family Members to Recover Damages
Wrongful death cases are similar to personal injury cases in that they allow injured parties to recover damages they have experienced due to another person’s negligent actions. In personal injury claims, the directly injured party submits the claim and pursues compensation for themselves. However, in wrongful death cases, the injured party did not survive the harmful event, so their family members are allowed to pursue compensation instead.
If you are a surviving family member of the decedent (your deceased loved one), you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim forward to recover compensation for their passing. In New York, wrongful death claims must be filed by a personal representative of the decedent, who can then distribute compensation to the appropriate heirs. You can hire a wrongful death lawyer to determine these roles and see where you stand legally.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
In New York, you may qualify for a wrongful death claim if you are the decedent’s:
Of the surviving family members, compensation is divided based on the individual’s relationship with the decedent. For example, spouses may receive more compensation than their children, whereas children divide the settlement award evenly among themselves if there is no spouse. Your lawyer can explain these rules to you in a future consultation.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Must Abide by the Statute of Limitations
If you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must file your case within two years of your loved one’s death, per EPTL § 5-4.1. However, certain factors can affect how long the statutory deadline is, such as whether you are suing a municipality. In that case, you have 90 days to submit your notice of claim, per GML § 50-E.
Your wrongful death lawyer can keep track of the appropriate deadlines in your case and notify you when you need to make a decision on going forward with a lawsuit.
By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to pursue the following damages:
- Funeral service costs
- Medical treatment costs
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of parental guidance or companionship
- Pain and suffering experienced by your loved one prior to their death
Call Morelli Law Firm to Learn if You Qualify for a Wrongful Death Claim
When a person is coping with their grief, the insurance claims process can feel overwhelming or confusing, especially for those who are unfamiliar with what damages are recoverable. Reach out to Morelli Law Firm to better understand how a wrongful death claim works and how a wrongful death lawyer from our team may be able to help you fight for compensation.
Call our firm at (212) 751-9800 to speak with a team member in a free consultation. We can set you up with a wrongful death lawyer in your area and also explain what services we provide to our clients. We represent clients in New York City, on Long Island, and in New York State up to Albany. Our team aims to take care of you during this time, so feel free to call us anytime.