Filing a claim for wrongful death can be particularly challenging in the state of New York because of the unique laws that govern the matter. It is precisely for this reason that you should seek the counsel of an experienced New York City personal injury attorney when evaluating your options and trying to determine the right course of action. Our firm is dedicated to seeing our clients through difficult legal situations and we will remain steadfastly by your side throughout the duration of your legal process.
New York state law allows the family members to seek compensation for the damages caused by the untimely and accidental death of their loved one. While there are no limits to how much can be awarded for the damages in a wrongful death claim, there are seven categories under which the complaining party may claim damages.
The loss of pecuniary income concerns any future income that the family would have received through the work of their deceased loved one. This would be calculated according to income, pension plans and benefits. Compensation may be sought for medical expenses if the victim of the accident was treated directly prior to his or her death, and funeral expenses will be covered completely if the claim is granted.
In addition to these financial losses, emotional losses of the deceased, such as pain and suffering can be compensated, as can the loss of parental guidance (for children or legal dependents of the deceased). Lastly, punitive damages may be awarded if the negligent acts of the defendant, who was the cause of the accident, were particularly rash and abhorrent.
The unique part of New York’s provisions for a wrongful death claim concern the parties qualified to file such a claim. While other states allow for the direct family members to personally file for a claim of wrongful death, New York restricts that ability to the personal representative of the deceased.
According to New York’s Estate Powers and Trust Law, only a personal representative of the estate has the right to sue for wrongful death on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries. This person would likely be the executor of the deceased’s estate through a will or trust established prior to death.
The representative would be the name on the claim but any compensation obtained from the suit would be added to the original estate and distributed according to the wishes of the grantor. If there was no will or trust established prior to death and therefore no personal representative for the deceased person, a family member or individual with an interest in the estate may apply with the Surrogate’s Judge to be named executor and therefore qualify to file a claim
Claims of wrongful death cannot bring back a lost family member, but they are intended to aid the family so that they can cope with this loss without having to worry about financial matters. Because of the specialized nature of wrongful death claims in New York, we advise that this endeavor be done with the representation of a capable NYC wrongful death lawyer. To learn more about wrongful death claims and how Greenberg & Stein, P.C. can help you claim the compensation you are owed for your loss, contact our office today and speak with a member of our legal team.