New York Wrongful Death Lawyers
It is always painful to lose a loved one, particularly in cases where the person’s death was preventable. If your spouse, parent, child, or other family member passed away due to another person’s reckless or careless actions, your family may be entitled to compensation to help cover lost income, benefits, and funeral expenses. Let the experienced New York wrongful death attorneys of Sullivan & Galleshaw fight for justice on behalf of your lost loved one, so that you and your family can focus on adjusting and grieving together during this difficult time. To arrange for a confidential legal consultation free of charge, call our law offices at (718) 843-0300.
How is Wrongful Death Defined and Caused?
Any avoidable death caused by the carelessness, negligence, or other wrongful conduct by an individual or commercial entity may be considered wrongful death. There are several basic components to a successful wrongful death claim:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. (For example, a doctor owes a patient a duty of care to sterilize their medical equipment.)
- The death must have been caused by the defendant’s actions or failure to act.
- The wrongful conduct must have been sufficient to give rise to a lawsuit had the decedent survived the accident.
- There must be at least one surviving spouse or family member who suffered a financial loss as a result of the decedent’s passing.
Under this fairly broad definition, wrongful death may be caused by many different types of accidents, including but not limited to:
- Anesthesia Errors
- Aviation Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Dental Malpractice
- Industrial or Workplace Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability (Hazardous Properties)
- Product Liability (Defective Products)
- Subway Accidents
- Truck Accidents
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim in New York City or elsewhere in the state, you must act quickly. A law known as the statute of limitations sets an extremely rigid two-year time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit, beginning from the date of the decedent’s death. If you miss this two-year time limit, and the statute “expires,” you will be left without any further legal recourse to pursue the matter in court. It is always prudent to consult with an attorney as soon as you possibly can in order to leave the maximum possible amount of time for investigation into the claim prior to the statute expiring.
What Sort of Damages Can You Recover?
The precise damages a successful plaintiff may recover from a defendant vary from case to case depending on the specific details of the situation. However, generally speaking, some commonly recoverable damages include losses and expenses related to:
- 9% interest on the final, total damages awarded.
- Funeral, cremation, and burial.
- General value as a parent, such as helping transport, feed, clothe, and mentor the children.
- Lost income, benefits, and wages which would have been earned by the decedent.
- Lost inheritance which otherwise would have been passed on.
- Medical expenses incurred by the decedent, such as surgery, medical prescriptions, the cost of hiring a caregiver, and the cost of purchasing medical devices such as wheelchairs or back braces.
Some damages, such as the interest on the ultimate award, are very straightforward and easy to calculate. However, other losses, such as the loss of parental value, are much harder to quantify. As a result, wrongful death cases often bring in economic experts who can valuate the financial cost of losses spread over the probable remainder of the decedent’s natural life. As a result, damages will be calculated very differently from one case to the next depending on factors such as the deceased person’s age, employment status, and general health prior to his or her passing.
On a final note, it’s important to point out that unfortunately, the circumstances under which you may sue for emotional distress in wrongful death cases are somewhat limited. Generally speaking, you may not sue for grief unless you actually witnessed the death occur and were traumatized as a result. This is referred to as being within the “zone of danger.”
If your loved one passed away because of the thoughtless actions of a person or business entity, Sullivan & Galleshaw may be able to help. To schedule a free and private case evaluation with our experienced New York wrongful death lawyers, call our law offices at (718) 843-0300. Remember the statute of limitations restricts how long you have to file a claim, so don’t wait until it’s already too late – call today to start exploring your family’s legal options.