If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit, no doubt, the unthinkable has happened. Losing a loved one in an accident or through no fault of their own is both traumatic and emotionally painful. You may feel angry, frustrated at the circumstances leading up to your loved one’s passing. Worries about finances and how you’ll move forward without the support of your lost loved one can feel overwhelming.
Few people identify themselves as litigious and have never considered legal action against another party in the past. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, financial compensation can allow for healing and alleviate financial burdens.
For surviving family members, you may wonder who can bring about a wrongful death lawsuit in New York and be a beneficiary in the claim. These are natural questions and an experienced New York wrongful death attorney can guide you and your family through the claims process and advise on beneficiaries and other questions.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed when one person’s death occurs as the result of the negligence, careless or reckless behavior, or violence of another individual or entity. Wrongful death claims are similar to a personal injury case in which an individual can sue to recover losses like medical bills and lost income incurred because of an accident or illness. Examples of situations that are common in wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Car accidents
- Swimming pool drownings
- Unintentional poisoning, such as from a drug overdose
- Transit accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction & workplace accidents
These scenarios are the most common situations that can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. It can be difficult to understand if you have a case or not. Consult with a New York wrongful death attorney who can help you understand what kind of case you may have and your options may be. The bottom line is if the death of a loved one or family member was caused by the negligence of another, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit depends on state law. In New York, a wrongful death claim typically has two components - the wrongful death claim and the survival action. A wrongful death claim compensates the victim’s estate for the loss of the loved one, while a survival action is filed on behalf of the deceased to compensate for the losses that occurred between the time of the accident and the person’s death.
Damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in New York may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of deceased person’s expected lifetime income
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance
A survival action seeks compensation on behalf of the victim for the time period between the accident and the time of death. If the victim had survived, he or she could file a personal injury claim to recoup losses from medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Because the victim ultimately dies, the estate of the deceased may file a survival action claim to include damages for:
- Hospital and medical expenses related to accident
- Lost income
- Mental anguish (of the deceased)
- Pain and suffering (of the deceased)
Even if the period of time between the accident and time of death was short, the estate of the deceased may still be able to file a survival action for the emotional damages.
Wrongful Death Beneficiaries in New York
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of the deceased’s family. Exactly who those survivors are can vary from state to state. In New York, spouses and children of the victim are the typical beneficiaries of the wrongful death compensation. In some cases, the victim’s parents or other relatives may be able to benefit from the claim. Additionally, the personal representative of the victim is permitted to file a claim on behalf of the estate. If the victim did not name a personal representative, the judge will appoint one.
If there are many survivors the court may determine a hierarchy for the beneficiaries. If compensation is awarded in a wrongful death claim, it is awarded to the beneficiaries and not the deceased person’s estate. Survival action claims may be awarded to the estate. A skilled New York wrongful death attorney can advise you on the differences and implications for the recipient.
Get Help with a Wrongful Death Claim in New York
Are you considering talking to an attorney about a possible wrongful death claim? At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we approach every case with compassion and empathy. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you and your family deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.