Wrongful Death: Who Can Recover for the Loss of a Loved One?

Wrongful Death Lawyer Representing New York Families

When a loved one dies in an accident caused by someone else, nothing can fully compensate you for your loss. However, under New York law, family members may be eligible for a monetary award if they file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death claims can arise from any type of accident including slip and fall accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice and fires.

In New York, the only person who can make a claim for wrongful death is the “personal representative” of the decedent’s estate. The damages recovered from the wrongful death action will then be considered as part of the estate and will be distributed to close family members, such as the spouse, children, or parents.

What Must Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Code, there are five elements of a wrongful death claim:

  • A death
  • Caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendant
  • Giving rise to a cause of action the deceased could have pursued in court if death had not occurred
  • Survival by one or more people who have suffered a loss as the result of the death
  • Damages the estate can recover

The estate’s representative, through wrongful death lawyer, will have to prove each of these elements in order for a court to award damages.

What Are the Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Family members may be eligible for funeral and medical costs, loss of earnings, and loss of benefits. In New York, family members are not able to receive damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish.

When Can a Wrongful Death Action Be Filed?

A wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the death. There are some exceptions. If an action is not filed within two years, family members lose the right to file a claim forever.

Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

It is important that you speak to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to preserve your claim. Contact the Wrongful Death Lawyer of The Rybak Firm, PLLC for a FREE Consultation by calling 718-307-5554 (Available 24/7) or by submitting a contact form below.


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