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How a Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help in New York

The passing of a loved one is never easy, but when that death is the result of an unforeseen accident, the loss can be even more tragic for the family. Wrongful death lawsuits in New York allow the loved ones of a fatal accident victim to collect compensation to cover the expenses incurred because of their loss. However, there are laws specific to wrongful death cases, which is why you should only trust an experienced wrongful death attorney with the claim. At The Law Offices of Justin D. Brandel, a compassionate and zealous attorney will advocate for you after the unfortunate loss of a loved one. Call or contact our firm today to learn more.

What is Wrongful Death?

Under New York law, in order to establish a wrongful death claim there must be a death caused by the wrongful act of those responsible that would have given rise to a personal injury claim if the victim would have survived. In addition, there must be at least one or more people who suffered a loss as a result of the wrongful death and those damages must be recoverable by the estate.

A wrongful death claim can arise from any accident or intentional act that results in a person’s death. This includes car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle or pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls, construction site accidents, fatal criminal acts, and more. In addition, there does not need to be criminal charges in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death is a civil claim, while criminal charges are handled in criminal court. A criminal conviction is strong evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit but not required to bring a claim. The standard of proof is also lower in civil court, so the grieving party must only prove by a preponderance of the evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt that those responsible caused the wrongful death of the victim. However, it is important to note that in New York a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be brought for the loss of a fetus even if the loss is caused by the wrongful act of another party.

Who can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Many states allow family members of the victim to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf, but that is not the law in New York. The personal representative of the victim’s estate must bring the lawsuit for wrongful death; however, the personal representative may also happen to be a family member. The personal representative may bring a case claiming damages to the victim’s estate as well as to the victim’s surviving heirs and beneficiaries. If the court awards damages to the heirs and beneficiaries, the personal representative holds that compensation in trust and distributes it accordingly.

Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Case

The personal representative of a wrongful death victim’s estate only has a small window of time in which to file a claim, known as the statute of limitations. Under New York law, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years from the date of death. It is important to note that the statute of limitations starts tolling at the date of death, not the date of the accident. If a victim survives the initial accident but dies from their injuries days or even weeks later, the statute of limitations begins on the day of their passing.

Because the personal representative of the estate is expected to file the lawsuit for damages, having an heir that is a minor or legally incapable of filing a claim is not a reason to stall the statute of limitations on a wrongful death case. The personal representative is expected to file the lawsuit within the two-year window on their behalf.

Compensation for a Wrongful Death Case

While money can never replace a lost loved one, wrongful death damages can help ease the financial burden that often comes after the unexpected passing of a loved one. Compensation for a wrongful death case includes damages on behalf of the victim’s estate as well as damages for any surviving heirs, beneficiaries, or designees. Compensation includes payment for funeral and burial expenses, all final medical bills associated with the accident, lost wages and benefits of the deceased, the loss of support and services, the loss of parental care, nurturing, and guidance, loss of inheritance, and any pain and suffering of the deceased that occurred before their death. The award is also entitled to 9% interest on the wrongful death award from the date of death in order to prevent purposeful delays in this type of case.

However, unlike other states’ wrongful death compensation, the surviving family members in New York are not allowed to collect damages for their own pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of companionship. The only additional compensation that may be awarded is to parents for the lost value of services that a child might perform until they reach legal adulthood. To learn more about the full and fair value of your wrongful death claim, talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney today.

How a Wrongful Death Attorney can Help

When grieving the unexpected loss of a family member, the last thing that you want to do is also juggle a legal case. Hiring a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney alleviates that burden for you and your family. An attorney will handle the legal filings and court hearings on the case, while ensuring that the claim is filed within the statute of limitations. A lawyer also understands the true value of your claim and will settle for nothing less than full and fair compensation. If negotiation fails, an attorney can take your case to trial and craft the best possible arguments as to why your family deserves to be compensated for your loss.

Call or Contact The Law Offices of Justin D. Brandel

To learn more about wrongful death claims in New York, call or contact The Law Offices of Justin D. Brandel today to schedule a case evaluation.

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