When a person dies or is killed due to the negligence or willful act of another person or entity, the surviving members of the victim's family may sue for "wrongful death." Wrongful Death actions can result from a variety of accidents such as medical malpractice, a defective product, a construction accident, a premises liability accident or a car accident. Serious injuries that result in wrongful death often include a brain injury, internal injuries, broken bones, burns, a neck injury or a spinal cord injury. The untimely passing of a loved one brings with it not only emotional hardship, but medical expenses, burial costs and loss of income to the surviving family. If a you are in need of a New York Injury Lawyer because a loved one was killed in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person, then it is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced Bronx Wrongful Death Accident Lawyer who will offer you guidance and support, and who help you receive compensation for your losses.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. However, the legal representative would file the claim on behalf decedent's beneficiaries and legal heirs.Recoverable Damages
Depending on whose negligence caused the accident that resulted in the wrongful death, the family of the deceased may recover a variety of damages. If family members file a wrongful death lawsuit they may recover medical expenses related to the injury that ultimately lead to the victim's death. Funeral and burial expenses are compensable. The family may be compensated for the loss of financial support that the victim would have contributed to the family during his or her lifetime. In some cases the plaintiffs may recover damages for benefits lost such as medical insurance and pension benefits. Recovery for loss of companionship refers being compensated for the comfort and care that the deceased would have provided.
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.Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
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.Proving Wrongful Death
The most common cause of action in a wrongful death action is negligence. As a result of such negligence a variety of accidents may take place including a car accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, airplane crash, or train accident. In order to prove negligence this, you will need to show four things:
- The defendant had a duty to your loved one;
- That duty was breached;
- The death of your loved one was a result of the breach;
- Family members have suffered economic loss as a result of the death.
Wrongful death cases can be complicated. It is not always easy to determine who is legally responsible for a victim's death. In some cases more than one person is ultimately responsible. Furthermore there may be complex procedural rules and timelines that must be followed. 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 Stephen Bilkis and Associates, PLLC 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 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.