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Wrongful Death Claims in New York

Did someone you love recently lose their life as a result of another's negligent actions or behavior? If so, there is a possibility that you are entitled to damages through a wrongful death claim.

When someone's death is caused by the wrongful actions of another, certain family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.

In New York, wrongful death actions arise out of car accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, police misconduct, and product liability cases that involve dangerous or defective consumer products.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim in New York. Only the personal representative of the decedent's estate, who is appointed by the Surrogate's Court may file a wrongful death action in the state.

Unlike many states, New York does not allow family members to bring a wrongful death claim unless that family member has been appointed as the personal representative of the decedent's estate. That representative must be able to show that the defendant (liable party):

  • Was negligent
  • Their negligence caused the victim's death
  • There is a surviving spouse, children, or other dependents or beneficiaries
  • The survivor or survivors suffered financial damage as a result of the death

What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim? In New York, the only types of damages that can be sought, include: economic losses, and the conscious pain and suffering experienced by the deceased. The survivors are not able to recover for their own grief and emotional suffering.

As it pertains to economic recovery for the estate, damages can be sought for earnings lost for the time of the initial injury to his or her death, the cost of medical care prior to the death, and funeral expenses.

The survivors may seek damages for:

  • Value of support and services provided to the family members
  • Parental nurturing (for the child of the deceased)
  • Loss of guidance and education (children)
  • The children's lost inheritance

Time Limit for Filing a Claim

In New York, there is a time limit for filing a wrongful death claim – this is called the "statute of limitations." A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the decedent's death. If you fail to file a claim during this window, you lose the right to file a claim permanently.

Contact a Schenectady personal injury attorney from DeLorenzo, Grasso & Dalmata 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're here to serve you!