How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works
Published on:April 25, 2022

If someone dies due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, survivors of the deceased have the right to sue for ‘wrongful death.’ Although nothing can ever bring back the dead, the purpose of the compensation is for the survivors’ loss, such as loss of wages, funeral expenses, and lost companionship.

If a loved one dies out due to the legal fault of someone, either a driver, an employer, or perhaps a bartender who served alcohol to a drunk driver, you have the right to file for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Take note that wrongful death statutes vary from state to state. However, they always define who is eligible to sue for wrongful death, and the purpose is to provide financial support to the bereaved family.

Who’s eligible to sue for wrongful death?

In some states in the US, the immediate family of the deceased can sue for wrongful death, including the children and even parents. However, New York requires that the personal representative, known as the ‘executor’ of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death lawsuit.

The amount of compensation awarded depends largely on the circumstances surrounding the case; to take care of losses such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family
  • The value of support the deceased would have provided to the family
  • Support the surviving children
  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased due to the final injury or illness

How long before filling a New York wrongful death claim?

There is a statute of limitation for a wrongful death claim, and New York sets a filing deadline of two years from the day the person dies. However, there are exceptions, such as death caused as a result of medical malpractice.

In that case, the statute of limitation is two and a half years from the day the person dies. Also, if the person responsible for the death has a criminal case against him as a result of the event that causes the death, the statute of limitation is one year from the date the criminal case ends.

How to prove wrongful death

To successfully prove wrongful death, you have to show the following:

  • The death of a human being
  • The death was caused by someone else’s negligence
  • The surviving immediate family who have suffered financially as a result of the death
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate

Consider hiring a wrongful death attorney

If you have lost someone you love due to someone else’s negligence or purely out of intent to harm, the best thing you can do is get in touch with a competent wrongful death attorney. Feel free to give us a call or fill out our contact form to book an appointment.