New York City Wrongful Death Attorneys
Fighting for the Families of Wrongful Death Victims in New York City
When someone suffers fatal injuries because of another party’s negligence, their surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil claims that seek compensation for losses resulting from the untimely passing of a loved one. These cases can involve anything from medical malpractice to motor vehicle collisions.
At Sutton & Smyth, LLP, we understand that you and your family are going through an unimaginably difficult time. Our compassionate New York City wrongful death lawyers are prepared to help you pursue justice and hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. We have the skills, resources, and experience needed to win these cases and bring your family the closure you deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York City?
Not everyone has the right to take legal action on behalf of a wrongful death victim, even if they were family or demonstrably close. Only certain parties can bring a wrongful death claim in the state of New York.
In New York City, the following parties have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The victim’s surviving spouse
- The victim’s surviving children
- The victim’s surviving parents
- The personal representative of the victim’s estate
Other family members, including siblings, cousins, grandparents, and grandchildren, generally do not have the right to pursue a claim unless they have been named as the personal representative of the victim’s estate. The personal representative of a person’s estate is typically named in their will. If no valid will exists (or the decedent’s chosen representative is unavailable or unwilling to fulfill the duties of the role), the court will appoint a personal representative, usually another immediate family member.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York City?
Unlike other personal injury claims, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is tied to the day the victim dies, not the day of the accident or incident that injured them. This means that if you have standing to bring a wrongful death claim, you must do so within two years of the date your loved one passed away. Your claim will likely be barred and your family will most likely be unable to recover any compensation if you miss this deadline, so do not wait to get legal advice.
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What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York City?
While no amount of money can appropriately compensate your family for the untimely loss of a loved one, you should not have to worry about how you will manage the financial consequences of their passing. To that end, your family can potentially recover economic and non-economic damages through a wrongful death claim. Punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or if there was “malicious intent” in their wrongdoing.
A person or entity (such as a business) can be held liable if an individual’s death was the result of their negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. As a general rule, if the victim would have survived had it not been for the action or inaction of the defendant, they may be held liable for the resulting wrongful death.
For example, consider a scenario where a motorcyclist is struck by a car driven by someone who was texting while driving. The motorcyclist suffers fatal injuries and passes away in the weeks after the accident.
Because the other driver was engaging in “distracted driving,” they behaved negligently and can likely be held liable for the collision, and if not for the collision, the motorcyclist would have survived. Thus, the motorcyclist’s surviving loved ones likely have a strong case against the negligent driver.
Not all wrongful death cases are so straightforward. If a loved one recently passed away and you believe someone else’s conduct may be to blame, reach out to our New York City wrongful death attorneys. We can investigate what happened and walk you through your legal options.