Long Island Wrongful Death
When someone dies due negligence or intentional act of another person or entity, New York law allows the family members to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents including auto accident, workplace accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, or product liability cases. Individuals, businesses, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently or intentionally. 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
If a family member passed away in an accident because another person was negligent, it is critical that you contact an experienced Long Island wrongful death attorney who will explain to you the process for holding the responsible party legally accountable for 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. A legal representative is not necessarily the surviving spouse or children. It is the person the decedent named as executor in his or her will. If the victim passes away without a will, then the court will appoint a legal representative. The legal representative would file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the real parties in interest. The real parties in interest would be the decedent's beneficiaries or heirs. Typically, the real parties in interest would include the decedent's surviving spouse and children, but may also include the decedent's parents, siblings and other relatives.Recoverable damages
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 us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) 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.