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Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Serving Families Throughout Garden City
stack of papers that says wrongful death and a pair of glasses

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through, but it can be even more devastating when the death is due to someone else's negligence. In such cases, the deceased’s family members may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. However, these cases can be incredibly complex, and there are strict procedural rules that must be followed. Those looking to bring a wrongful death suit should consult with an attorney and familiarize themselves with the process.

If you are in New York and considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is essential to understand the state's wrongful death laws. Below we provide a helpful overview as well as some guidance on when to seek legal representation.

New York Wrongful Death Law Basics

In New York, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to another person or entity's negligence or wrongful act. The New York wrongful death bill is covered under the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law (EPTL) section 5-4.1. The law allows the estate's personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for the death. The personal representative does this on behalf of the estate’s heirs and/or beneficiaries.

Examples of accidents that commonly result in wrongful death include:

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Defective product accidents
  • Malfunctioning equipment accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Premises liability-related accidents

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in New York?

While many states allow family members and spouses to file wrongful death claims, New York does not. The laws surrounding who can file a wrongful death suit are strict, and the parties allowed to bring a claim are limited.

Under New York law, the following party can file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The personal representative of the deceased's estate

A family member is only allowed to bring a wrongful death claim in New York if they are legally named as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in New York

In New York, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of the person's death. However, it is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule. When the wrongful death is due to medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is two and a half years from the date of the person's death. Additionally, there is usually a significantly shorter time frame to file a notice of claim when suing a municipality.

If you do not file within these time frames, your case will likely be dismissed, and you may be barred from seeking compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to fully understand the statute of limitations and ensure that your rights are protected.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Wrongful death is a devastating event that affects loved ones not only emotionally but also financially, which can add to the burden of grief. Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit may seem overwhelming and intimidating, but it can be worthwhile if you want to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.

Through a successful wrongful death claim, the family may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional damages. While money will never bring back a loved one, it can relieve some of the financial burdens and allow the family to grieve without additional financial stress. Ultimately, consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney is important to understand the legal options available and help guide you through the process.

An attorney can help you with the following:

  • Investigating the facts surrounding the death: A wrongful death lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and gather evidence to prove that the defendant was negligent or committed a wrongful act.
  • Assessing damages: A lawyer can help determine the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, including economic and non-economic damages.
  • Filing the lawsuit: A lawyer can help you file the wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations, ensuring that you meet all the legal requirements for filing the case.
  • Representing you in court: If the case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you and fight for your rights in court.

Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit in New York

The outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit in New York will depend on the facts surrounding the case. However, if you have a strong case and can prove that the defendant was negligent or committed a wrongful act, you have a good chance of winning the case. Additionally, if you have an experienced and skilled wrongful death lawyer representing you, your chances of success increase significantly.

Losing a loved one due to someone else's negligence is a traumatic experience. You do not need to go through this alone. The attorneys at Foley Griffin are prepared to guide you in filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party/parties. Contact us online to discuss your case.