Stephen Bilkis
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Queens Wrongful Death


At 7:00pm Elizabeth was driving home from a late night at work. A driver of an 18-wheeler owned by Big 'Ol Store fell asleep at the wheel. His truck drifted in the path of the car driven by Elizabeth. Elizabeth was unable to get out of the way of the truck which crashed right into her car. A few hours later Elizabeth died at the hospital. She was survived by her husband and two minor children. When someone dies as a result of a negligent or intentional act of another person, the deceased's family members are greatly affected. Not only are they affected emotionally, they are also often affected financially. New York law provides for wrongful death claims against people who negligently or intentionally cause someone's death. Wrongful death claims involve are based on a variety of fatal accidents including auto accidents, workplace accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability cases. Individuals, businesses, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently or intentionally. If you are in need of a personal injury lawyer because a family member passed away in an accident due to the intentional act or due to the negligence of another person or entity, it is critical that you contact an experienced Queens wrongful death lawyer who will explain to you the process for holding the responsible party financially accountable.

Wrongful death claim

A wrongful death lawsuit is a special type of personal injury claim filed by the family members or personal representative a person who died as a result of another person's negligence. Like most personal injury cases, wrongful death cases are quite complex. They often require lengthy investigation and working closely with a number of experts. Oftentimes the insurance companies will initially deny liability or try to get the family of the deceased to quickly settle for a relative low amount. If your family member was killed in because of another person's negligence, it is important that you get an experienced personal injury attorney involved right away in order to ensure that your rights are protected, and to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible based on the specific facts of the case.

Recoverable damages. When a loved one is killed in an accident due to the negligence of another person, the family may be able to recover damages from the negligent party by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation that may be recoverable includes:

  • Medical expenses- The hospitalization, surgery, medication, hospice care and other medical expenses incurred by the deceased related to the injury that caused his or her death.
  • Funeral expenses- The fees associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased.
  • Loss of companionship and support- The expected support, companionship and services that the deceased would have provided to survivors.
  • Punitive damages- In cases where the negligent party's actions that caused the victim's death were particularly egregious, the court may award punitive damages.

It is important to understand that under New York law not every family member has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only the deceased's personal representative may file. The personal representative is generally the deceased's executor as named in his or her will. If the person died intestate—without a will, then the court will appoint a personal representative.

Statute of limitations. In addition, there are strict deadlines related to filing a wrongful death lawsuit. If it is not filed within 2 years of the death, then the suit will be forever barred.

Workers' compensation. If the victim died in a workplace accident, then accident may be covered by workers' compensation insurance. This means that instead of filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you would be required to file a workers' compensation claim in order to receive death benefits. The deceased's surviving spouse would be entitled to death benefits. Death benefits are equal to 2/3 of the deceased's average weekly wages with a cap on benefits that is adjusted periodically.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

It is unfair that your loved one was taken away from you because another person was negligent leaving you emotional devastated. To give you some peace of mind the law gives you the right to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your legal options for pursuing a wrongful death case. Our staff is experienced in representing clients who have lost loved ones in accidents. Call us 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.

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