Long Island Wrongful Death
Losing a loved one is one of the most heart-wrenching events that anyone will face. It is even more difficult when the death was because another person drove a car recklessly or behaved in some other reckless or negligent manner. We at the Law firm of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are all too familiar with the pain families face when a loved one passes away from injuries suffered in an accident. The struggle goes beyond emotional pain. Families are often left financially devastated as they are left with medical bills and everyday household bills, while the household income has decreased. New York law addresses the predicament of families of victims killed due to the negligence of others, allowing them to file wrongful death claims and pursue compensation from the negligent parties. If a family member passed away in an accident that you believe was caused by the negligence of another person, it is critical that you contact an experienced Long Island wrongful death lawyer who will offer you support and comfort throughout the process of filing a demand for compensation from the person whose negligent actions led to the death of your loved one.Who may sue for wrongful death
Under New York law, only the person named as the victim's legal representative may file a claim for wrongful death. While a person's legal representative is typically a spouse, parent, or child, this is not always the case. The legal representative is generally the individual who is named in a person's will as the executor. In the absence of a named legal representative, the court will appoint one. The legal representative will then have the right to file a wrongful death claim for the benefit of the victim's benefits such as the spouse and children.Establishing a wrongful death case
As a wrongful death attorney in Long Island will explain, under New York's Estates, Powers, and Trusts law, in order to establish a claim for wrongful death, the following elements must exist:
- a death that was caused by someone's wrongful conduct—either negligent or intentional
- such conduct would give rise to a claim that the deceased could have pursued in court if death had not occurred
- survival by at least one person who suffered a loss as the result of the death, and
- damages the deceased's estate can recover
When a family member is killed in an accident, compensation or benefits may be available through either a wrongful death lawsuit- which is a special type of personal injury claim, or through workers' compensation death benefits.
Wrongful death: The personal representative a person killed in an accident caused by another one's negligent has the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim. Compensable losses recoverable through a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to what the deceased would be able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit, with a few differences. Compensable losses include:
- Medical expenses: The medical expenses related to treating the injuries that ultimately led to the victim's death including expenses related to the emergency room, hospital, surgery, other types of treatment, medication, laboratory tests, and nursing facility.
- Pain and suffering: The physical pain and mental suffering that the victim was aware of prior are compensable losses.
- Lost wages: The lost wages, lost benefits, and lost self-employment income that the victim suffered prior to passing away.
- Funeral and burial expenses
Workers' compensation death benefits. If the accident the resulted in the victim's death was work related, the family may have the right to death benefits through the employer's workers' compensation insurance policy. Death benefits are available to the surviving spouse and children. Benefits available include:
- Cash benefit. The cash benefit is equal to 2/3 of the victim's average wages.
- Funeral and burial expenses. As of 2016 New York workers' compensation provides $10,000-$12,500 for funeral and burial expenses. This amount is subject to period increases.
When someone is killed in a horrible accident the family is left devastated and wants answers. However, determining fault can be complicated. To make sure that your case is properly handled it is critical that you are represented by attorneys with experience handling wrongful death cases. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss the details of your case. Our staff is experienced in handling claims involving wrongful death cases as well as other types of personal injury cases and workers' compensation claims. Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney serving Long Island at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.