Losing a loved one is difficult to endure and can cause the surviving family to experience emotional and financial stress. This stress can significantly increase if the person dies due to negligence or wrongful actions. If your loved one’s death was directly caused by a wrongful or negligent act, hiring a lawyer to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit can help ease some of the financial stress caused by your relative’s passing.
Only specific members of the deceased person’s family can file a wrongful death claim, such as the decedent’s surviving spouse, parents, or children. Below, our Albany wrongful death lawyers discuss what constitutes wrongful death in New York, who can file wrongful death claims, and what a successful wrongful death settlement can financially compensate for.
Our law firm, Bailey, Johnson & Peck, P.C., is prepared to be your personal representative in your wrongful death lawsuit. With over 40 years of experience trying personal injury cases in New York, you can be sure your case is in capable hands. Call us at (518) 456-0082 to receive a free consultation from one of our experienced New York wrongful death attorneys.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is defined by New York law as any wrongful or neglectful act that causes the death of another person. Negligence occurs when an individual willfully acts in a careless way, like getting behind the wheel of a car when they know they’re too drunk to drive. A wrongful act is any illegal, immoral, or unjust action an individual knowingly engages in, such as murder or theft.
After a fatal accident, there are plenty of expenses that their family or estate may have to cover, including medical and funeral expenses. That’s where wrongful death lawsuits come in. Negligence often results in a personal injury claim, but if the person who is injured is not alive to sue for damages, their family can sue on their behalf. In a valid wrongful death case, the family of the deceased person could sue the person at fault to recover compensation for any economic or non-economic expenses they incurred as a result of their actions.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims can arise from a variety of different situations. Below, we’ll take you through some of the most common causes of wrongful death in New York, including auto accidents, medical malpractice, and intentional killings. If a negligent act caused your loved one’s death, call Albany wrongful death attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck to receive expert legal counsel.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Wrongful deaths can occur as a direct result of motor vehicle accidents, including car, truck, boat, and bicycle accidents. A car accident death could lead to a wrongful death case if the person who caused the wreck acted negligently. All drivers are responsible for obeying traffic laws and being mindful of others on the road. If someone fails to drive responsibly and safely, they can be found negligent. For example, if someone was texting while driving and hit another car, the distracted driver could be held responsible for any deaths caused by the accident.
Everyone makes mistakes, but when doctors make mistakes in caring for a patient, the consequences can be severe and, in some cases, deadly. A doctor can commit medical malpractice in many ways, including diagnosing a patient incorrectly, prescribing a patient the wrong medication or wrong dosage of medication, or even failing to inform a patient of the risks of a procedure or treatment. If these actions result in wrongful death, the deceased patient’s family can hold the doctor or other medical professional financially responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Premises Liability Violations
Wrongful death cases can also arise from premises liability violations. Just like drivers have a responsibility to the other people on the road, property owners have a responsibility to the people who visit their property. If the person in charge of a property violates New York building codes and causes a fatal accident, they could be found liable in a wrongful death case.
Defective products can also cause wrongful death. A product can be considered defective if it unreasonably causes danger to an ordinary user. This can include defective car parts, cosmetic products, industrial equipment, and more. If your family member died as a result of a defective product, an Albany wrongful death lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim and receive the compensation you deserve.
While most wrongful death claims involve acts of negligence, occasionally, wrongful death occurs as a result of an intentional killing. Wrongful death suits are civil proceedings, which are different from criminal proceedings. If someone breaks the law and is charged with a crime, a criminal case will decide whether or not they were guilty of the criminal act, and if they are found guilty, they could face jail time.
A civil case, however, decides whether or not they are liable for their actions and will only result in financial repercussions. In wrongful death suits, the person at fault could be fined for killing or causing the decedent’s death. These fines are then paid to the deceased person’s family or estate.
You can file a wrongful death lawsuit against someone accused of intentionally killing a member of your family, even if they are found not guilty of a crime. These cases can be very complicated, which is why it’s so important to hire skilled attorneys with a comprehensive understanding of the New York legal system.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
In New York, any immediate family member of the deceased individual can file a wrongful death claim. This includes the decedent’s surviving spouse, parents, or children. The representative of the decedent’s estate can also file a wrongful death lawsuit.
This kind of lawsuit aims to help the decedent’s heirs receive financial support to supplement their losses. These losses can include any expenses they may have incurred after their loved one’s death, such as funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of emotional support.
An Albany wrongful death attorney can help the decedent’s surviving family hold the at-fault party liable. If your loved one died due to negligence, call Bailey, Johnson & Peck at (518) 456-0082 to schedule a free consultation.
How to Prove Wrongful Death
In a wrongful death case, the family must prove a few things before they can begin recovering compensation for their loved one’s death. First, they have to prove that the at-fault party’s actions would have injured the decedent had they not died, or that the accident did injure them before they died. For example, if the victim was in a tragic accident due to unsafe work conditions and then died due to their injuries, then the family has to prove that the accident did cause injury before the victim passed.
They also have to prove that the deceased has surviving distributees, which are people able to file a wrongful death claim. This includes their spouse, surviving children or parents, or anyone in charge of their estate. Lastly, they must prove that they suffered financial damages due to the death. This can include medical bills, burial costs, and lost wages.
Proving wrongful death requires an experienced attorney who can act as the family’s personal representative and help them easily navigate the legal system. An Albany wrongful death attorney can also help gather evidence to prove the wrongful death claim is valid. For example, an attorney can work to acquire invoices from the decedent’s insurance company to prove the family suffered monetary damages due to the accident. The attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck are here to be your New York legal team in any wrongful death cases.
Wrongful Death Damages
In addition to grief, fatal accidents can leave the surviving family with a mountain of bills. A wrongful death suit can help reimburse them for their damages. After wrongful death occurs, the decedent’s estate can recover compensation for economic damages, like medical expenses, and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. An Albany wrongful death lawyer can help families recover financial compensation for any damages they incurred.
In a wrongful death suit, the deceased’s family or estate can recover compensation for any medical bills incurred before the decedent’s death, as well as any funeral and burial expenses. They can also be compensated for any lost wages following the accident. Additionally, the family can sue for the financial support the deceased would have provided their family had they not died. Any economic damages the court awards the family will be awarded interest.
In wrongful death cases, non-economic damages are things that can’t really be given a price, but that the court assigns value to so that the surviving family members can be fairly compensated. In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, wrongful death lawyers can help them recover compensation for damages like the loss of emotional support, and the loss of care for surviving children. While no amount of money can bring their loved one back, wrongful death settlements can help the family experience less financial stress to hopefully ease the pain.
New York Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
Just like other civil lawsuits, a wrongful death claim has to be filed within a specific time frame for it to be valid, which is referred to as the statute of limitations. In New York, any immediate family members or representatives of the decedent’s estate must file for a wrongful death settlement within two years of the person’s death.
There are a few exceptions, however. If the death occurred due to medical malpractice, the family has two and a half years to file. If the death resulted from a crime, the family has one year from the date the criminal case ends to file their claim.
Call Albany Wrongful Death Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today
We understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one, especially knowing their death could have been prevented if someone had not acted negligently. If your family member died due to another person’s negligence, you’ll need a New York wrongful death lawyer to act as your personal representative in court and inform you of your legal rights to compensation.
Our legal team can help you and your family recover monetary awards to cover funeral costs, medical costs, and loss of support following your relative’s accident. And with years of successful case results, you’ll know your claim is in good hands. Call Bailey, Johnson & Peck at (518) 456-0082 for a free consultation regarding your case.