Claiming Damages in New York Wrongful Death Cases

Losing a loved one unexpectedly can be a devastating experience. However, families across the country must deal with this reality every day. Motor vehicle crashes, dangerous drugs, violence, falls, medical malpractice, abuse, and neglect claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.


When a person’s death is caused by someone else’s negligence or malice, this is called wrongful death. When this happens, a person’s closest family members, such as spouses, children, parents, and siblings, can recover compensation for their losses. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, financial compensation can help pay for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and the deceased’s pain and suffering.


Each state has different laws when it comes to wrongful death claims. New York, in particular, has some nuances that are worth noting.


What Is Wrongful Death?


Wrongful death occurs when someone’s wrongful conduct leads to someone else’s death. There must be one or more surviving family members who have suffered losses as a result of the death, and there must be an estate by which they can recover damages.


In New York, a person cannot file a wrongful death claim for a fetus that dies before death, no matter the cause of death.


Who Can File a Claim?


A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the person’s death. The only person who can file the claim is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. No other family member can bring about the claim under New York law.


Types of Damages


A personal representative can recover compensation for damages such as funeral and burial expenses, expenses for medical care the person received before they died, lost wages, lost inheritance to children, nurturing and care the person provided to their children, and services and support the person provided to family members before his or her death. The pain and suffering the person endured before their death can also be recovered. In addition, New York allows for nine percent interest on the damage award. This is calculated beginning on the day the person dies.


Another way in which New York is different from other state is that it does not allow compensation for emotional damages that the family members have suffered as a result of the person’s death. However, that could soon change if Assembly Bill A5612 and Senate Bill S4006 are passed in New York. If so, these laws would allow the personal representative to recover compensation for the grief and anguish they have suffered. The personal representative would also be able to claim any loss of love, nurture, society, guidance, protection, training, education, comfort, companionship and consortium from the person’s death.


Get Hurt? Get Gary!


Losing a loved one can be tragic. While nothing can bring back your deceased friend or family member, financial compensation can pay for expenses and somewhat ease the pain.


The Falkowitz Law Firm can help you pursue a legal claim after the loss of a loved one. Our caring and compassionate lawyers can help you through this difficult time. Schedule a consultation today by calling 844-GET-GARY.

Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

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