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Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim in New York

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

When it comes to lawsuits, each state has its own set of rules and regulations. One of the most critical considerations when filing a lawsuit in New York is to ensure that you do so within the right time frame. The statute of limitations indicates the amount of time a person has to initiate a lawsuit. This statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of lawsuit and the circumstances of the event. For wrongful death claims the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the victim’s death. There are, however, some exceptions that allow the claimant to bring a wrongful death lawsuit after the two years have passed. Keep in mind that these exceptions are not very common.

Medical malpractice

For medical malpractice claims, the statute of limitations is extended to two years and six months. 

If the responsible party has a criminal case pending

If the person who is responsible for the death has a criminal case pending, the plaintiff has one year from the date that the criminal case ends to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.

If the beneficiary is a minor

If the only beneficiary of the wrongful death claim is a minor, the case can be delayed until they turn 18 or until a legal guardian is designated. If the beneficiary had a legal guardian before the death, the statute of limitations is two years.  

If the potential defendant is a municipal governmental entity, the plaintiff will need to submit a “notice of claim” within 60 or 90 days from the date of the death. Otherwise, the case may be dismissed. Seeking legal assistance from an experienced attorney can help you meet all the deadlines and statutory periods established by the statute of limitations.

How is “wrongful death” defined in New York?

According to New York State law, wrongful death is the result of an intentional or wrongful act, negligence, recklessness, or default that the deceased person could have pursued if they had survived the event that caused their death. 

Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in New York
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What is the classification of a wrongful death case?

Wrongful death claims can result from different circumstances that cause someone’s death. Here are some of the most common events that result in wrongful death:

Car accidents

Car accidents happen all the time, and some of them can lead to serious injuries or even death. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against the responsible party if their negligence caused the accident and, as a result, someone’s death.

Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is defined as a health care provider’s professional carelessness that results in inadequate treatment and injury to a patient. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits involve misdiagnosis, prescription drug errors, and surgical errors.

Slip and fall accidents

Property owners have the obligation to keep their premises safe for people. Landlords and property managers must take the appropriate measures within a reasonable time. If someone slips, falls, and dies due to the owner’s negligence, it is possible to file a wrongful death claim against them. 

Criminal action

Intentional acts and crimes that result in someone’s death. 

Keep in mind that these are not the only circumstances that lead to wrongful deaths; there are a variety of additional situations that can result in a wrongful death claim.

Navigating the Time Constraints for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New York
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Who is eligible to file a New York wrongful death lawsuit?

Unlike in other states, relatives are not allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Instead, the person responsible for bringing the wrongful death claims to court is the personal representative of the deceased individual’s state. This person is usually known as the executor. Even if family members are not allowed to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit, some of the damages recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit include financial compensation to the family. 

What damages are possible in a New York wrongful death case?

If the plaintiff wins the case, the judge will award the deceased person’s survivors compensation for their losses. The damages and amounts awarded by the judge will vary from one case to another. Nonetheless, these are some of the most common damages that are awarded in court:

  • Financial support that the deceased person would have contributed to their family.
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased person as a result of the injury or illness that caused their death. 
  • Funeral or other final expenses such as burial or cremation.
  • Medical expenses related to the injuries or illness that caused the death.
  • The value of support, care, services, and guidance that the deceased person could have provided to their family or children.
  • Any lost inheritance.
  • Interest accrued on the damages since the date of death.
Statute of Limitations: Wrongful Death Claims in New York Explained
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How are wrongful death settlements paid out in New York?

Wrongful death settlements are usually paid out to the deceased person’s relatives. Depending on the person’s survivors, the settlement will be distributed following this template:

  1. The deceased person’s spouse receives the full settlement amount if there are no children. 
  2. If the victim had children and a spouse. The spouse receives $50,000. The rest of the settlement is divided between the spouse and the children. Each child must receive the same amount. 
  3. If the victim only had children, the settlement is divided evenly among every child.
  4. If the victim had no children or a spouse but their parents are still alive, they would receive the entire amount. If the parents are divorced, each of them will receive 50% of the settlement. 
  5. If the victim had no children, spouses, or parents, the settlement will be split between the siblings.
  6. If the victim had no children, spouses, parents, or siblings, the settlement should be split between the nieces and nephews. 

Why is it important to hire an experienced New York attorney to handle a wrongful death claim?

Hiring an experienced attorney will improve your chances of receiving fair compensation for your loved one’s death. To be able to take legal action, it is crucial to meet every deadline and every requirement that the law indicates. At Greenberg and Stein P.C., our attorneys know exactly what to do with complicated cases such as wrongful death claims. Our legal team has vast experience handling all kinds of cases and succeeding in court. Our primary purpose is to see that justice is done. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have recently suffered a loss as a result of someone else’s negligence. Call 888-716-4137 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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