New York City Wrongful Death Lawyer
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New York, New York 10005
The residents of New York City are not strangers to the tragedy of sudden and unexpected deaths, even if those deaths are purely accidental, the result of urban violence, or the carnage of 9-11-2001. On this page the New York City wrongful death lawyer at the Doan law Firm gives an overview of the laws governing wrongful death lawsuits in New York.
NY State definition of wrongful death
Unlike some states, the State of New York State requires that five conditions must be met in order to support a wrongful death lawsuit:
- There must have been a death.
- The death must have been due to wrongful conduct by the defendant.
- The wrongful conduct must have given rise to a valid course of action the victim could have pursued had he or she lived.
- The victim must be survived by one or more persons that have suffered a loss as a direct result of the victim’s death.
- There must be damages the victim’s estate is eligible to recover.
Although some states extend wrongful death claims to the parents of an unborn child, New York does not allow wrongful death lawsuits where an unborn child is the victim.
NY State rules regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit
Unlike many states, New York does not allow a family member to file a wrongful death lawsuit on just that family member’s own interests. New York allows only a “personal representative” of the victim’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. This personal representative does not have to be a surviving family member, but should be chosen carefully for a reason to be explained shortly.
A family member can file a lawsuit, but only as the personal representative of the estate and with the understanding that the lawsuit is for the benefit of the estate and all survivors who would share in the victim’s estate.
Damages allowed in New York wrongful death lawsuits
New York again differs from many states in that it does not allow surviving family members to sue for damages for their own emotional pain and suffering, even if the victim was their child. Parents can only sue for the loss of services, such as household chores or yard work that could have been performed by a child victim, but any damages awarded will likely be reduced by the estimated costs of child-rearing expenses.
Damage awards in New York courts are determined on a case by case basis. Damages have been awarded for the following situations related to the deceased’s expenses prior to his or her death:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Medical and other health care expenses incurred related to the period between the deceased’s final illness or injury and death.
- Wages and other income that the deceased would have earned between the onset of the final illness or injury and death.
- The pain and suffering of the deceased between the onset of the onset of the final illness or injury and death.
- The value of the support the surviving family could have expected had the deceased been alive.
- The value of the support and guidance the deceased would have provided to his or her children.
- The value of the estate that the deceased would have left to his or her inheritors.
- Interest at a rate of 9%, accruing from the date of the deceased’s death.
New York courts will leave the distribution of any damages awarded to the estate in the hands of the personal representative of the estate, which is why the representative should be carefully chosen!
Time limits for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in NYC and NY State
The State of New York requires that a wrongful death lawsuit be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s death. Any lawsuit filed after that date will be dismissed and cannot be refiled under any circumstances.
Contacting a New York City wrongful death lawyer
The wrongful death lawyer at the Doan Law Firm – New York City understands how an unexpected death is a very stressful time for the surviving family members. This is a time when important decisions must be made, but must be carefully thought through to their impact on future family relations.
If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit, you should contact the New York City wrongful death lawyer at the Doan Law Firm by calling (646) 847-0000 to arrange a free consultation to review the facts surrounding your loved one’s tragic death. You initial consultation is always free and creates no obligation to hire our firm.
Should you decide that our firm should represent your case, we will assume all financial matters directly related to preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.
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