Death Due to Negligence or Failure to Act
Losing a loved one is never an easy thing to deal with especially when the death comes tragically and unexpected. Unfortunately, devastating accidents occur every single day across the state of New York that takes the life of another. In these instances, we often hear of people filing wrongful death lawsuits to obtain compensation to help with expenses and to help ease the financial burdens they may now face.
The term wrongful death is used to describe an incident that leads to the death of another person. Cases are often brought forward in instances where the family of a deceased loved one holds another person accountable for the death. To file a suit against another person, the death had to be caused by a person’s failure to act or by the direct actions of another person. Wrongful death cases are filed in a civil court rather than a criminal court. However, a criminal case does not prevent someone from filing a civil case and vice versa.
Wrongful death cases often involve individuals killed in construction or vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, police misconduct, or product liability when products are defective or dangerous. This is not always the case as there are several other instances a person’s wrongful acts can lead to the death of another person.
Compensation Available for the Loss of a Loved One
A family member or representative of the estate has to file a suit on behalf of the deceased in order to obtain compensation for emotional and financial suffering. Individuals filing wrongful death suits can receive compensation for:
– Lost wages and benefits: This is often calculated by determining how long a person would continue to work, how much they would make, and what benefits would be available to them throughout the course of their employment.
– Loss of consortium: Spouses are able to receive compensation for the loss of companionship with their spouse.
– Pain and suffering: The court can award family members money for pain and suffering the victim experienced before they died. Additionally, pain and suffering compensation can be awarded for family members.
– Other relation damages: Individuals suing on behalf of a deceased loved one can be compensated for loss of inheritance and a number of other related losses in certain cases.
An individual sued for wrongful death can only be held responsible if it can be proven that the defendant’s actions caused the fatality. The case information must demonstrate that the death of the individual would not have occurred if the defendant did not commit such acts.
Calculating Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit
There is no time requirement between the act of the defendant and the death of the decedent as long as it can be proven that the defendant’s actions are the cause of the death. More specifically, the death had to be caused by another person’s wrongful act. Additionally, money damages had to arise from the act committed. If all three of the criteria are met, a wrongful death claim can be filed.
In cases of wrongful death, damages are assessed to determine how much family members should be compensated for their loss. There are several ways damages are calculated and, because there are a number of areas that damages can be awarded in, each area needs to be examined thoroughly.
Some expenses that are often examined include funeral expenses, medical expenses, and loss of future wages and benefits. Things like loss of companionship are also important. However, determining this amount is more difficult to do.
In some cases, punitive damages are awarded, which are used as a punishment toward the person that caused the death rather than a compensation for any specific loss. These are typically awarded in cases where the action of the defendant was intentional or grossly negligent, and are intended to serve as a warning to others who may have acted in a similar manner.
Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in New York
If you have lost a loved one as the result of a person’s negligent or wrongful actions, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important that you act quickly after the incident occurred to collect information and document your claim. Contacting a reputable lawyer is often an excellent first step toward compiling a case and ensuring your legal rights are represented.
Many cases require experts to speak to the jury about what happened and can further involve many independent but correlated components that need to be brought together to form an argument. A reputable lawyer will gather evidence, find qualified experts, and collect records to represent the case in court. It is crucial to collect evidence from the site of the incident, take photographs and, in some cases, construct reenactments of the scene to get more specific details as to what occurred and when. Having someone to gather information and expert testimony eliminates the burden for family members who are already dealing with so much.
After the claim is documented, it is important to begin the probation process to determine what is in the decedent’s estate and who should represent it. The court will often select an individual to be appointed as a representative to the estate. Immediate family members, typically a spouse, parent, or child of the decedent are often appointed to represent the estate throughout the legal proceedings and this can further strain a family. It is vital to act quickly as your time to sue is limited in New York State and the damage to your case could be irreparable.
A significant financial settlement can help families focus on healing and recovering from their loss without worrying about current and future finances. We have been helping New Yorkers recover compensation for punitive damages for nearly twenty years. Our team of legal experts work to gather information, collects evidence, and present your case in a manner to maximize the compensation you receive for this terrible and unfortunate incident. Contact us today at (212) 354-6800 for a free case evaluation to explore what legal options are available for you.