Best Wrongful Death Lawyers NYC Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Losing a loved one inflicts deep, devastating wounds that no amount of money can heal. During such times, pursuing legal action may not even cross your mind. However, when someone close to you—especially if they were the sole breadwinner—passes away, it can impose sudden financial challenges on your life. Funeral and burial costs and pending medical bills may create a range of obligations that result in significant setbacks which, when coupled with loss of income, have a devastating economic impact.

Wrongful death lawsuits provide a means to alleviate the financial burden and offer a valuable stepping stone to move forward from this tragedy. We delve into the crucial laws related to wrongful death claims in New York. Familiarizing yourself with these laws is important should you decide to sue the responsible parties for damages.

New York Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The statute of limitations designates a deadline for pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.

In New York, you must initiate the lawsuit within two years from the date of your loved one’s death. Note that the clock starts ticking from the actual day of their passing, which may differ from the accident date. Waiting too long and exceeding this two-year limit could lead to the dismissal of your case.

Here are a few exceptional circumstances that can alter the two-year deadline:

  • If your loved one’s death was caused by medical malpractice, such as negligence in diagnosis, birth injuries, prescription drug errors or surgical mistakes, and you want to sue a hospital or a healthcare professional, you have a slightly extended timeframe. You can file the lawsuit within 2.5 years from the date of their passing.
  • If the person responsible for your loved one’s death is facing criminal charges for their negligence, you have one year from the conclusion of their criminal case to file a lawsuit. This rule applies regardless of the defendant’s conviction or acquittal.
  • If the death resulted from the negligent or reckless action of an individual who violates New York DUI laws, then the relevant bar or alcohol-serving establishment can be held liable under New York’s Dram Shop Act. If this applies to your case, you will have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • If a municipal government agency or a public corporation is deemed liable for the person’s death, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the person’s passing to protect your right to sue. Once the Notice of Claim is served, you have one year and 90 days from the date of death to file a lawsuit.

There are many other factors that can modify the deadline for a wrongful death lawsuit. Once your NYC wrongful death attorney reviews your case, they will help you pursue the appropriate legal remedy in a timely manner.

New York Laws for Wrongful Death Cases

Many states allow close relatives to bring a lawsuit for their loved one who passed away. But New York isn’t one of them. Here, only the person designated Personal Representative, or Executor, of the deceased’s estate, is legally allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

A personal Representative is usually designated in a person’s will. But, if someone dies intestate—meaning, without a will—the court will appoint one who can then initiate a wrongful death action.

Possible Damages in a NY Wrongful Death Case

In New York, surviving family members or the decedent’s estate can only reclaim demonstrable monetary losses, such as:

  • Funeral, cremation or burial expenses
  • Medical expenses from the victim’s accident-related illness or injury
  • Lost income the victim would have earned if they continued working to a normal retirement age, as well as loss of health insurance and other benefits
  • Loss of parental guidance and nurture the victim would have provided if they reached their anticipated life expectancy
  • Loss of services the victim would’ve provided if alive, like childcare

Unfortunately, survivors cannot recover damages for their own non-economic losses such as grief, sorrow or emotional trauma they experience after their loved one’s untimely passing.

However, the decedent’s estate can pursue a survivorship action for pain and suffering the decedent experienced as a result of the accident or incident before they died.,.

In rare and extreme cases, along with compensatory damages, the case may also include an award of punitive damages. This type of award is available in cases where the defendant’s actions are deemed especially harmful, willfully negligent or with malicious intent. An example would be nursing home attendants intentionally providing substandard cases, which results in the death of a resident. This award isn’t to compensate the victims. Instead, its purpose is to punish the defendant and deter anyone else from repeating a similar act in the future.

While some states restrict how much victims and survivors can get through a lawsuit, New York is one of the few states that follows a no-cap law—meaning it does not enforce any limit on how much juries can award in both compensatory or punitive damages to the victim’s estate.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case in New York

The wrongful death lawyer in New York representing your claim will have to prove:

  • Negligence: the accident that took the victim’s life arose from reckless actions
  • Intentional act: the defendant knowingly took an action that caused someone’s death

Here are the elements of negligence you’ll need to prove with evidence to successfully recover damages:

  • Someone died: this can be proved with evidence such as a death certificate, a signed statement from physician, funeral director or an autopsy report.
  • Defendant’s reckless or negligent action caused the victim’s death: Depending on the nature of the case, this can be proven with photographs, witness statements, physical evidence like the presence of surgical objects left inside the body and medical records.
  • Family members suffered economic and emotional loss from the death: Receipts of funeral and burial expenses, copies of medical treatments and victims’ pay stubs can all be helpful to prove survivors’ damages.

When planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must skillfully collect different types of evidence to prove every necessary element of the claim to win the case. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in NYC, NY will be a vital partner in this step.

How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help You?

A NYC wrongful death attorney can make the whole process of building and filing a strong wrongful death case streamlined and stress-free for you. Here are some specific ways they can help you:

  • Investigate and uncover the cause and other facts surrounding your loved one’s death
  • Pursue awards that include economic and both qualifying emotional damages and help recover compensation for the deceased person’s pain and suffering
  • Collect and present evidence and testimony to prove the defendant’s negligence
  • Help determine who is named as the personal representative in the decedent’s estate or if court will have to appoint one
  • Help with administrative tasks and file paperwork before statute of limitations expire
  • Negotiate for a fair settlement or take your case to trial for a fair verdict

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