New York Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful Death actions can result from a variety of actions and accidents such as medical malpractice, a defective product, or vehicle accident. Serious injuries that result in wrongful death can include head injuries, spinal injuries, or injuries to internal organs. 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 loved one was killed due to the negligence of another person, then contact an experienced New York wrongful death lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates who will offer you guidance and support, and who help you receive compensation for your losses.Recoverable Damages
If a family member was killed because of the negligence or wrongful actions of another person, the decedent’s personal representative as well as the decedent’s survivors may sue to recover a variety of damages. The personal representative of the decedent may sue to recover damages for the medical expenses related to the injury that resulted in the decedent’s death. The estate can also sue for conscious pain and suffering that the decedent experienced because of the injuries that led to their death.
Only family members who are distributees as defined in EPTL 4-1.1 can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages. Under EPTL Section 5-4.3 damages to statutory distributees is limited to fair and just compensation for the pecuniary injuries resulting from decedent's untimely death. Such damages include:
- Loss of support. In a wrongful death lawsuit, "loss of support" refers to the financial assistance and contributions that the deceased would have provided to their family members had they survived. This may include financial support for basic needs such as food, shelter, education, and other necessities. The court considers the deceased's potential future earnings and the financial needs of the surviving family members to determine the appropriate compensation for this loss.
- Loss of services. Loss of services encompasses the value of the services and assistance that the deceased would have provided to their family members, such as household chores, caregiving, and other non-monetary contributions. This includes the practical tasks that the deceased performed for their family, and the compensation aims to address the burden placed on the surviving family members due to the absence of these services.
- Loss of income. In a wrongful death claim, "loss of income" accounts for the income that the deceased would have earned and contributed to their family during their expected lifetime. This includes lost wages, salary, bonuses, commissions, and any other monetary benefits that the deceased would have earned. The court considers factors like the deceased's earning capacity, work history, and potential for career advancement when calculating the appropriate compensation for this loss.
- Loss of benefits. Loss of benefits covers the value of benefits that the family members would have received from the deceased. These benefits may include health insurance, pension plans, retirement benefits, and other employee benefits that would have been available to the family had the deceased survived. Compensation for this loss helps mitigate the financial impact on the surviving family members who may now be deprived of these valuable benefits.
To learn more about recoverable damages and who has standing to file a lawsuit, contact an experienced New York wrongful death lawyer.
However, if the victim died in a workplace accident, generally, 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. However, there are instances in which a personal injury wrongful death suit could be filed even if the accident occurred at work. For example, 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.Statute of Limitations
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. To make sure that your claim is not barred dure to the statute of limitations, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in New York right away.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, 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.
Note that a wrongful death action may also be brought where the victim died as a result of a willful act such as an assault.Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates
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 wrongful death attorneys serving New York who have experience handling wrongful death cases. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Westchester County, Suffolk County, Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Nassau County, and Queens.