Westchester County Wrongful Death

A wrongful death claim arises when someone dies as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of another person. For example, if someone is killed in a car accident because another driver ran through a red light, then certain members of the family of the deceased may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver and recover compensation. Or, if during a medical procedure a healthcare worker makes an error that results in death, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit based on medical misdiagnosis or some other type of medical malpractice. Individuals, businesses, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently or intentionally. If 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 Westchester County Wrongful Death Lawyer who will explain to you the process for holding the responsible party financially accountable.

Who may sue for wrongful death

Under New York law, only a decedent's legal representative may file a claim for wrongful death. A legal representative is typically the person the decedent named as executor in his or her will. Otherwise, the legal representative would be the person named by the court to serve as such. The executor 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

The legal representative of a family who prevails in a wrongful death lawsuit may recover damages for actual financial losses, for non-economic losses, and for exemplary damages. Economic losses include actual medical expenses and funeral expenses, loss of the deceased person's earning capacity, loss of benefits such as medical insurance or pension benefits, and loss of inheritance. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of guidance, training and nurturing, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium. A successful plaintiff can recover additional damages, referred to as exemplary damages, that are awarded to punish a defendant for particularly egregious behavior. They are typically awarded in cases where the defendant acted willfully or with gross negligence.

However, if the victim died in a workplace accident then under New York workers' compensation law the decedent's survivors are entitled to workers' compensation death benefits and cannot sue the employer in court to recover additional compensation. Death benefits include burial expenses as well as a weekly benefit that is equal to a percentage of the decedent's wages and is subject to a cap. On the other hand, even if the accident occurred at work, if the negligent party was not the employer but a third party the victim's family may be able to sue the third party in a personal injury lawsuit for compensation in addition to workers' compensation benefits.

It is 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. While two years may seem like a long time, there is often a great deal of time-consuming fact-finding and other preliminary work that must be completed before a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. If a lawsuit is not filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the right to sue may be forever lost.

Westchester County Wrongful Death Lawyer

The unimaginable and tragic loss of a loved one has shattered the lives of thousands of people. It is something never planned, never wanted and usually occurs without warning or meaning. If you have been touched by such a tragedy, contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates to discuss the details of your case. Our staff is experienced in 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 serve those injured in accidents in the following locations:

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