Nassau County Wrongful Death
Losing a loved one is always painful. It is even more devastating for the surviving family members when the loved one dies suddenly in an accident. When someone passes away because another person was negligent or because another person acted intentionally, New York law allows the family members to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims can be based on practically any type of accidental death such as auto accidents, accidents that occur at work, criminal acts, slip and fall accidents, premises liability accidents, medical mistakes, or product liability cases. Defendants in wrongful death cases are often individuals. However, defendants can also be companies, and government entities if they acted negligently. Generally, wrongful death cases will involve four characteristics:
- The death was not caused solely by the actions of the deceased
- Someone else’s negligence caused the victim’s death
- There are dependents, beneficiaries, children or a surviving spouse
- Death has caused monetary damage
If a family member was killed in an accident because some else was negligent, it is critical that you contact an experienced Nassau County wrongful death lawyer who will work hard to make sure that the responsible party is required to pay the maximum possible damages based on the facts of your case.Who may sue for wrongful death
If you lost you may think that you have the right to sue the negligent party for damages. Under New York not every relative has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under New York law only the decedent's legal representative has the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim.
The legal representative could be a relative or a nonrelative. It is typically the person named in a person’s will as the executor. In the absence of a will the legal representative would be appointed by the court. In practice the legal representative would end up being a surviving spouse, parent or child.
This does not mean that the person who files the wrongful death lawsuit would be entitled to any compensation awarded. The personal representative would file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the real parties in interest, which would be the victim’s beneficiaries or heirs. Those would be the people who would have the right to any compensation awarded from a successful wrongful death claim.
If the accident happened at work and is subject to workers’ compensation, then the victim’s surviving spouse and minor children have the right to file a claim for death benefits.Recoverable damages
The types of losses that may be recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses related to the injury that led to the victim’s death. For example, a traumatic brain injury may lead to a victim’s death. However, the victim may receive extensive treatment prior to succumbing to the injury. This may include hospital, emergency room, doctor, rehab, medication, and hospice expenses.
- Pain and suffering experienced by the victim as a result of the injury. This includes both physical pain and psychological suffering.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of future earnings and benefits. This is based on an estimate of the victim’s earnings from the time of death to retirement.
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
If the death was subject to workers’ compensation insurance, then the survivors may be entitled to the wrongful death benefits offered by workers’ compensation.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Cash benefit based on the amount of the victim’s wages
It is important that you not assume that just because the death occurred in the workplace that you do not have the right to sue for damages beyond what workers’ compensation provide. Discuss the case with an experienced wrongful death attorney who will explain your legal rights.
It is also important to file a wrongful death claim as quickly as possible as New York's statute of limitations is generally only two years after the death. Wrongful death cases can be complicated so that the work involved in preparing to file a lawsuit may be time-consuming. Thus, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney as quickly as possible.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Losing a loved one unexpectedly in a tragic accident is emotionally painful. Holding the responsible party legally accountable will help give you a measure of peace and will help you deal with the financial difficulties that often come with the loss of a loved one. Contact the attorneys at Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss the details of your case. Our attorneys have years of experience successfully handling claims involving wrongful death cases related to construction accidents, car accidents, product liability, and medical malpractice. 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.