How a New York Wrongful Death Trial Lawyer Can Help Ensure Your Recovery for Family Members, or Successfully Defend Against Large Defense Payouts.
Understanding Wrongful Death Law in New York
If there is ever shocking news of a freak accident—a dangerously defective product, a construction worker fall at a construction site, a workplace or truck accident, or deadly act of medical malpractice—it is that family members have only to rely on a family’s spiritual aide and comfort to get through the grieving process.
Fortunately, through New York wrongful death statutes and New York caselaw, the victim’s loved one, including minors and relatives who may have been close to the victim, can take legal action without losing their day in court.
Unfortunately, there are many ways that claims brought by the surviving family members do not succeed to due often strict procedures put in place to avoid what may be perceived as windfall payments to persons not directly affected by the incident leading to the wrongful death. Yet, either way a person feels about the reason for the wrongful death, it is undisputed that having proper representation can achieve the proper result for either the loved one or the party at-fault.
To learn more about the elements that must be proven in the State of New York in an ordinary wrongful death claim as well as the common ways for wrongful death lawsuits to be disproven and dismissed, it is worth reading further.
What are the Elements of Successful Wrongful Death Lawsuit under New York Law?
In New York, on Nolo.com, wrongful death suit allow any victim who could have otherwise been, if living, able to bring a civil wrongful death suit against a person, corporation or city or state to sue on behalf of the decedent.
In New York, the legislature has created the three most common kinds of wrongful death categories:
- Death of a person caused related to premise liability.
- Birth complications, except death of a fetus. Endresz v. Friedberg 301 N.Y.S. 2d 65 (1969).
- Negligence, including gross negligence, or omission by another causes death. (for instance, a defective product manufactured that causes serious bodily harm)
This wrongful death lawsuit in New York is special in that it can only be filed by those who have a special relationship to the decedent or personal representatives of the decedent’s estate, and the decedent would have been able to file a personal injury claim for injuries sustained but-for the victim’s death.
Three common forms of a wrongful death lawsuit relate to either:
- Negligence that causes death. (e.g. a car accident injury case or truck accidents)
- Professional negligence (e.g. a patient dies after being substandard treatment by a doctor or nurse)
- Intentional acts (e.g. crimes committed against people)
Having a skilled New York wrongful death lawyer can paint a picture to a jury that is not only accurate and detailed in every way, but presented in such a way to appeal to either the particular guilty act by the individual or group responsible for preventing the death.
What are the Time Limits and Procedure for Filing Manhattan, Bronx Wrongful Death Claim?
According to Nolo.com, it is imperative for a layperson to be familiar with the concept of “statutes of limitations,” which are strict time restrictions that may prevent a claim from ever being filed if not done before the statute runs, or time has run out.
According to New York Estates, Powers and Trusts section 5-4.1., there is a clear “two-year” time limit that a loved one has in a wrongful death case to bring a claim.
Although that is a rule of thumb, there are of course exceptions that a skilled and seasoned wrongful death lawyer would be able to detect and apply in your case.
According to the concept of “tolling,” as explained by New York City personal injury experts Block O’Toole & Murphy may apply which a skilled lawyer might raise if any of the following is true, but rarely used:
- The loved one related to the victim is a minor, in which case the statute begins to run only after turning 18, giving two years from that date.
Statutes of limitations exist to ensure that evidence remains “fresh” and in the judgment of the courts and legislature claims are more likely to have merit. Another reason is not to inconvenience the responsible party by waiting an unreasonably long time to report the injury when it could have done sooner, especially when evidence proof of injury is stronger, such as changes in, for instance, the conditions that previously were considered dangerous that caused the accident, destruction of evidence or faulty recordkeeping.
Common Defenses Helpful in Wrongful Death Claims
According to the New York City wrongful death specialist firms, notably, Friedlander & Friedlander, in addition to the statute of limitations, there are common defenses an at-fault driver can assert to minimize or completely avoid liability for deaths caused by another’s negligence or failure to act:
- Imputed/Comparative Negligence – where the deceased contributed to his or her own death.
- Causation – when there is no connection between the defendant’s alleged wrongful act and the wrongful death.
- Statute of Limitations – when the suit is brought after the time limit expired.
According to Nolo.com, when the wrongful death case occurs as a result of a crime, the issue is not whether someone must serve jail time or a sentence, but only how much, if at all, the person has to pay to a surviving spouse bringing the wrongful death claim.
Legal Advice: How Much Can Surviving Family Members Expect to Recover for a Wrongful Death Claim?
As in personal injury law, there are nuances in how a victim’s injuries are framed. The distinction between what are called “economic” damages versus “non-economic” damages can shed light on the limits for beneficiaries, or family members, including adopted children, in their quest to seek justice for their lost loved one.
- Economic damages: money that was spent on medical bills or unpaid wages due to the economic loss of being able to work, also known as earning capacity. For instance, in medical malpractice claims, medical expenses for consultation and treatment by doctors, whose care was subpar, including funeral expenses.
- Non-economic damages: an abstract and often inflated value a person places on the mental distress and mental anguish suffered after an accident. According to the blog of Block O’Toole & Murphy, pursuant to New York law, there is no “statutory cap” on the latter category of damages as in other states.
According to Nolo.com, damages in wrongful death cases in New York can’t simply be grouped as the cost of the harm suffered, but more accurately include:
- Potentially thousands of dollars based on not able to work anymore.
- The value of the deceased as a professional counselor or life coach to the survivors.
- Family suffering caused by the death of a loved one.
- Loss of a loved one’s presence.
- Lost property, or loss of inheritance, or land that would have belonged to the family member had the family member lived longer.
Understanding and appreciating the differences between core principles such as negotiation, indemnification and sovereign immunity, shielding government actors from liability, with some exceptions—are several advantages of selecting a New York wrongful death lawyer who is up to date on the changes in the law.
In contrast, punitive damages often become irresponsibly claimed and used in a manner other than intended by state of New York forcing claims and penalties to be paid out, even though not legally owed, such as when the at-fault party does not hire a skilled New York wrongful death attorney.
The Importance of Hiring a Skilled Brooklyn, NYC Wrongful Death Lawyer for Legal Advice
Whereas a common personal injury attorneys may be generally knowledgeable about how to represent a given client, top-notch New York wrongful death attorneys, skilled in representing either side, will be familiar with the most recent decisions in insurance and tort law that affect how much of a recovery the injured victim is eligible to receive.
Many top-rated law firms use attorney advertising themselves as specializing in wrongful death litigation, including New York City-based Mirman, Markovitz & Landau, P.C., the national personal injury firm and New York wrongful death firm at McDonald Worley, P.C., among others in the New York state and surrounding areas, many offering an initial free consultation to get you through this difficult time of grief following a deadly accident.
For such a law firm competent in New York wrongful death law, a wrongful death specialist will ask you, the client, questions to maximize the value of your case by seeking punitive damages and emotional distress damages, or minimize liability in exploring your legal options—whether you are a family member of the deceased who died in an accident or the one considered liable for fatalities by defending against the personal injury claim.
No matter on which side a person is, detailing all expenses made, including psychological treatment, helps the at-fault party determine the actual damages that the law requires it to pay.
Often where the at-fault party’s reputation is at stake, it is usually imperative to be as forthcoming as possible by sharing with the New York wrongful death lawyer any and all insurance company policy maintained. In turn, this allows the wrongful death attorney to investigate other potential actors responsible for the wrongful act, and to provide all known information that could be helpful for the lawyer to assess and test the strength and validity of the victim’s claim.
Case Review: Building an Attorney-Client Relationship By Calling a New York City Wrongful Death Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case and Odds of a Obtaining a Favorable Settlement.
Whether you are a pursuing or defending against a wrongful death claim for a vehicle accident or premise liability, having the right legal team on your side can navigate the vast and ever-changing landscape of personal injury law, caps on damages and case precedent.
The attorney-client relationship forms upon consultation when you consider hiring the law firm, but sometimes includes a disclaimer requiring further evaluation first. Failing to be adequately prepared can result in not being compensated for a serious injury with clear-cut liability, such as if the New York wrongful death attorney is not particularly qualified in the particular case brought.
Likewise, this can result in excessive payouts for non-meritorious civil claims and in turn can cause a person or entire organization’s reputation to be sullied through the burden and expense of litigation. Whether you are looking for a New York wrongful death lawyer in Queens, or on Long Island or Staten Island, Lawsuit.org will help you pinpoint the right one by offering a free consultation and free case evaluation to obtain the just result the victim’s loved one and beneficiaries deserve.