The death of a loved one is never easy to accept. Sadly, the loss is made even more painful when it occurs due to someone else’s negligent and reckless actions. While you are coping with the grief, it may feel impossible to consider taking legal action. But New York has wrongful death laws that can help you get justice for your loved one.
Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, has been assisting grieving families with wrongful death lawsuits in New York for more than 33 years. If you are facing the emotional and financial consequences of losing a loved one because of another person’s negligence or misconduct, call our Binghamton, New York accident lawyer at (607) 724-7700 or use our online form for free advice on your claim. We will listen to your story with compassion and help you determine whether to take your case to court or pursue a settlement to obtain the maximum results. We will fight for you!
Defining Wrongful Death and Negligence
In legal terms, wrongful death refers to a fatality that occurs because of the carelessness or misdeeds of another person, corporation or entity. In the state of New York, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of death.
The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to financially compensate the surviving family members for their loss and to deter the responsible party from injuring someone else. Typically, wrongful death suits involve vehicular accidents (aviation, automobile, ATV, motorcycle, or railroad), defective products, medical malpractice, pharmaceutical liability, and a number of other situations. The common element in most actions is negligence, which is characterized by inattention, thoughtlessness, inadvertence and mistakes.
There are the four critical components of negligence that must be established in wrongful death claims. You must prove the following:
- The defendant had a duty to the deceased. (For example, a car driver must obey the rules of the road).
- The defendant failed in that duty, called breach of duty. (The driver failed to stop at a red light, or yield the right of way).
- The fatality was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. (The driver’s car passed a red light and struck another vehicle or person, killing them).
- The survivors are entitled to compensation for the loss of their loved one.
In addition to establishing negligence, a wrongful death claim must present additional details that will be used to determine what types of compensation a family member is entitled to. For example, an attorney will likely engage the services of an economist to look at factors such as the joint life expectancy of the deceased and the survivor or other beneficiary. That information will be presented to establish the loss of future earnings and companionship. Finally, effective presentation of the claim for loss of services, advice and guidance suffered by the survivors is critical to a fair monetary award.
Damages In A Wrongful Death Claim
Financial compensation provided to family members in a successful wrongful death action are referred to as damages. While no amount of money can replace a loved one, monetary awards can provide members with financial security as they rebuild their lives.
The amount of damages will depend on the surviving family members’ relationship to the deceased and can include:
- Future wages to dependants (money that the deceased person would have earned if he/she survived);
- Medical expenses;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Property damage;
- Loss of future services to spouse: what the deceased would have provided if he/she lived;
- Loss of advice and guidance to children.
Determining Liability In Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases are always emotional. While you are grieving, you should not make any major decisions that will limit any future recoveries without consulting an attorney. That’s particularly important when the insurance companies start calling – and they will be harassing you before you know it.
Determining liability is complicated. Insurance companies will push aggressively for you to enter into a settlement, sign releases or accept money in exchange for releasing an individual or corporation from liability. Although it may be tempting to take the first settlement offer and be rid of the hassle, you should talk to an attorney about all of your legal rights and what redress is available to you and your family.
Call a New York Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
At Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, we will work hard to obtain the maximum award allowed under New York law. Our Binghamton personal injury attorney can also help you with other legal problems that arise while your case is pending.
If you feel that you or a loved one has suffered due to wrongful death in New York State, call our 24-hour answering service at (607) 724-7700 or contact us via our online contact form. All calls and inquiries are responded to the same day, usually within one hour. There is no case-review cost.