Wrongful death is the immediate or delayed outcome of someone’s negligence or unjust actions. Wrongful death can be intentional or unintentional and can occur in an instant, or it can be a long and agonizing event. Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by the relatives of the deceased. And, if proven in court, these survivors are entitled to monetary damages.
For more information on wrongful death, contact New York Wrongful Death Lawyers Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP for a free consultation. If we agree to handle your case, there will be no legal fees unless we succeed in getting you money.
Contact our New York Personal Injury Attorneys today, and read more below to learn about some of the general overviews of a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In New York, the legal definition of wrongful death is when someone’s death was caused by another person or entity’s negligence or wrongful actions. The surviving family members can file a civil lawsuit against the person or entity that is responsible for their loved one’s death to recover monetary damages.
In many cases, a wrongful death claim is handled like another personal injury case, such as a car accident or slip and fall that resulted in injuries. However, there are additional damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit that are not available in other personal injury cases.
For example, in New York, the surviving spouse can recover damages for the loss of their partner’s love, companionship, and society. The children of the deceased can recover damages for the loss of their parent’s love, guidance, and support.
Additionally, the parents of a deceased child can recover damages for the loss of their child’s life.
Punitive Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
New York also allows for the recovery of punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar behavior, but they are not included in a lawsuit.
These rare damages are awarded by a judge or jury at the conclusion of a trial when they have determined that the at-fault party’s behavior was so egregious that it demands punitive action in addition to the civil damages awarded to the plaintiff(s).
Common Causes of New York Wrongful Deaths
There are many different ways in which someone can die as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongful actions. Some of the most common causes of New York wrongful deaths include:
Car accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death. Car crashes can be caused by many different factors, including drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, and recklessness. In 2021, there were a total of 113 fatalities from car accidents and another 36,964 injuries.
Others may be caused by defective parts in the vehicle, dangerous road conditions, or a variety of other instances where another entity is responsible for the crash.
New York medical malpractice is another leading cause of wrongful death. When a doctor or other medical professional fails to provide the standard of care that a reasonable person would expect, and this failure results in a patient’s death, the doctor or medical professional can be held liable for wrongful death.
In New York, there is no cap on the amount of money that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit, whether the plaintiff is the victim or there is a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the survivors.
New York workplace accidents are also a leading cause of wrongful death. When an employer fails to provide a safe work environment or fails to follow safety regulations, and an employee is killed as a result, the employer can be held liable for wrongful death. However, most fatal workplace accidents in New York are covered by workers’ compensation, which has specific benefits to be paid to either a victim or, in the case of a wrongful death, the surviving spouse, minor children, or dependents.
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” insurance system, meaning that an employee does not have to prove that their employer was at fault for the accident to receive benefits. It also limits a worker’s ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. However, if the death was caused by someone other than the employer or a co-worker (e.g., a third-party contractor), then the victim or their survivors may be able to file a New York wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party.
Slip and Fall Accidents
New York slip and fall accidents are another leading cause of wrongful death. When a property owner fails to maintain their property in a safe condition or fails to warn visitors of a dangerous condition, and someone is killed as a result, the property owner can be held liable for wrongful death.
New York premises liability law requires all property owners, whether they are private individuals or businesses, to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. This means that they must repair any dangerous conditions on the property or warn visitors of the danger. If they fail to do either and someone is killed as a result, the victim’s survivors may be able to file a New York wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner or responsible party.
Other common causes of New York wrongful death include:
Whether or not you see the cause of your New York wrongful death accident listed above, if you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, you may be able to file a New York wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In New York, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the victim’s surviving spouse, children, or parents. If the victim did not have any surviving family members, then a New York wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by their estate.
A New York wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. If the lawsuit is not filed within this time frame, the victim’s survivors will be barred from recovering damages.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, contact a New York wrongful death attorney at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced New York wrongful death lawyers will review your case and help you understand your legal options. We will fight to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
Survival Action in a New York Wrongful Death
New York is one of a few states that allow what is known as a “survival action” to be brought alongside a wrongful death lawsuit. A survival action is when the deceased person’s personal representative sues for the damages the deceased would have been able to recover if they had not died, such as lost wages and medical bills.
Trying to manage a single lawsuit after the tragic loss of a loved one is complicated enough, and trying to handle both of these cases can seem impossible. Working with an experienced New York wrongful death attorney can make the process easier and help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
At Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, we have been handling New York wrongful death cases since 1955 and have won over $400 million for our clients. We understand the pain and suffering you are going through and will do everything in our power to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you are successful in your New York wrongful death case, you may be able to recover damages for:
- The victim’s pain and suffering before their death
- The victim’s lost wages and benefits
- The victim’s medical expenses
- The loss of the victim’s companionship, love, and guidance
- Funeral and burial expenses
In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their negligence or wrongful actions and are not meant to compensate the victim’s survivors for their losses.
Each of the damages listed above, as well as the countless others that your attorney may be able to clearly identify and calculate on your behalf, is unique to your situation and deserves the ongoing attention of an experienced legal professional. Furthermore, the amount of damages you can recover in your New York wrongful death case will depend on many factors, such as the severity of your loved one’s injuries from this tragic accident, their age, and their income.
Trying to calculate damages — especially non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of companionship — is a difficult process that many inexperienced claimants struggle with. Insurance companies and defense attorneys know how to leverage the complexity of New York tort law as they fight to pay as little as possible while still resolving the civil case against them, but when you are working with an attorney, they will be able to handle these steps on your behalf and aggressively defend these calculations as they work to get you the money you deserve.
Negotiating a Settlement Before Trial
An experienced New York wrongful death attorney will be able to investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death, calculate the damages you are owed, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Whether you are working with an insurer with the hopes of a direct, out-of-court settlement or if you are already in litigation in the New York courts, your attorney may focus on reaching a settlement agreement before going to trial — and the at-fault party may be motivated to agree to a settlement to avoid the potential bad publicity of a trial.
Of course, there is no guarantee that a settlement will be reached in your case, and if the at-fault party refuses to agree to a fair settlement, your New York wrongful death attorney will be prepared to take your case to trial.
No matter what stage your case is in, it is important that you have an experienced New York wrongful death attorney on your side. At Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, we have been handling New York wrongful death cases for over 50 years and will fight to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Contact a New York Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, contact a New York wrongful death attorney. New York City is home to Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, and we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Our experienced New York wrongful death lawyers will review your case and help you understand your legal options. We will fight to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.