Written by: Jesse Minc Portrait Jesse Minc
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If a loved one was killed in a car accident in New York, then the surviving family or personal representative of the estate can file a wrongful death suit against the at-fault driver. With medical malpractice, a doctor or hospital can get sued. In construction accidents, usually, the construction site owners or equipment manufacturers are held liable in wrongful death cases.

Jesse Minc is ready to help you. If you believe a loved one’s death was the result of a car accident, medical malpractice, or a workplace accident, then a wrongful death attorney can gather evidence to prove the elements of your claim. Along with the loss of financial support, losing the person who meant so much to you is devastating. You deserve compassionate legal representation, so call 718-509-6116 now.

What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The surviving family members must bring the legal action in civil court, which is separate from any criminal charges that may have also been filed. Essentially, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks a civil remedy against the individual or entity who played a role in the victim’s death. 

You can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit to compensate you for monetary damages, such as funeral expenses and non-monetary damages. In general, economic damages are equivalent to the future expected earnings of the decedent but for the defendant’s tragically wrongful actions.

Who can file a wrongful death suit in New York?

If the decedent has a will and names an executor, then that person can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent’s estate. However, if the decedent did not leave a will, the court appoints an executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Anyone can ask to be appointed the administrator or administratrix. If more than one person applies, then the court will appoint whoever is most qualified to be the personal representative. 

A personal representative is appointed by the probate court to administer the decedent’s estate. Personal representatives can file wrongful death lawsuits in their own name, but anything that is recovered will be held in a special trust.

Family Members

Each state has its own laws regarding who can file wrongful death lawsuits. Typically, the family member bringing forth the claim must have been financially dependent on the loved one who died. In the state of New York, immediate family members may file wrongful death suits. More specifically, the family members who can bring forth a wrongful death claim are:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse if they were legally married at the time of the person’s death, or their registered domestic partner
  • The decedent’s children
  • The decedent’s parents
  • If the decedent was a minor child, then the parents or guardian(s) may bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit

New York is a state that allows domestic partners or members of a civil union to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the surviving spouse is not legally competent, the court may deny their right to file a wrongful death case.

If the deceased person does not have a spouse but has an adult child or adopted child, then they may file a wrongful death.

Other Family Members

New York also allows for more distant family members like siblings and grandparents to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the decent had no surviving spouse, children, or parents. 

It’s important to understand your state’s laws on who can file a wrongful death claim. When you have questions for a wrongful death attorney, then call Jesse Minc. During your consultation, we can discuss who has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and which state laws apply in your wrongful death case.

Who May Be Sued For A Wrongful Death?

Anyone whose negligence, recklessness, or criminal intent leads to the untimely death of another person can be held liable for their actions (or misactions, in some cases) in a wrongful death suit.

When a person dies due to the legal fault of another party, then the immediate family members may find it easier to hire an attorney who can help them with filing a wrongful death claim and proving the other person’s negligence. The elements you must prove in your lawsuit include:

  • Thet the victim was injured in an accident, and as a result of their injuries, the person died
  • The defendant owed the decedent a duty of care
  • The defendant breached the duty and did not use reasonable care
  • The breach lead to the decedent suffering from fatal injuries
  • The plaintiff financially depended on the decedent and has the legal right to recover in a lawsuit

The family or personal representative cannot be compensated in criminal court, which is why they must file a civil lawsuit. The liable party may also face criminal charges. Even if not found guilty, they can still be required to pay compensation to the family or personal representative because the burden of proof in civil proceedings is lower than in criminal proceedings.  

There is a legal time limit for filing a wrongful death claim, which is called the statute of limitations. It differs from state to state depending on the type of lawsuit. In New York, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of the fatality. Once that deadline has passed, you no longer have the right to civil remedy, and the court can no longer punish the responsible party except under certain rare circumstances.

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What Can be Recovered From Wrongful Death Claims?

The most common damages awarded in New York wrongful death lawsuits are related to medical bills to treat the victim before their untimely death, which could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. The surviving spouse or another family member who was financially dependent on the deceased person is left with mounting medical debt and loss of future income. They are grieving the decedent’s death.

The surviving family members could seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party if the fatality occurred due to negligence or an intentional act. Jesse Minc is an experienced attorney who can help you recover damages such as:

  • Burial expenses and funeral costs
  • Medical bills for the care received before the decedent’s death
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of services
  • Pain and suffering your loved one endured prior to their death

Jesse Minc has handled hundreds of wrongful death cases and is experienced in proving the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit. 

  • In a car accident lawsuit, the liable party is usually another driver, truck company, or car manufacturer
  • For construction accidents, the lawsuit is usually filed with the insurance company of the construction site owner or manager
  • In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the liable party is usually a doctor, hospital or clinic

However, if you do not file your wrongful death lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, then you could lose your right to pursue financial compensation or bring forth legal action.

Talk To A Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit but have questions or want to know what legal remedies are available to grieving family members, then call personal injury lawyer and wrongful death attorney Jesse Minc at 718-509-6116.

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Category: Personal Injury