There are certain unfortunate accidents that happen in life that the law allows the family members involved to sue to insure that they are made whole for their losses. It is important to note at the outset that since a wrongful death action is premised in civil law, it is not the goal of the case to punish or exact retribution on the alleged perpetrators. That is the job of the criminal system. It is the goal of the civil system to ensure that the plaintiffs, who are family members of the deceased, are made economically whole and that any loss that they suffer will be properly compensated.
Wrongful death actions are included in such actions. New York’s wrongful death suits allow the family members to sue for the anticipated economic damages that the family members will suffer. This can be called the survivors action. New York’s wrongful death statute requires that the plaintiff survivors prove several elements and must initiate the lawsuit at least two years after the date of the death or one year following the end of the criminal case, if one is initiated, whichever comes later. The Plaintiffs must show:
- Someone died from the negligence of another and
- There are surviving children, dependents and a spouse that relied on the deceased for income and
- The survivors suffered economic damages as a result of the negligent actions of the defendant.
There are actually two separate elements of damages in a wrongful death action. The first grounds for damages include the economic damages noted above that the survivors suffered. Unfortunately the plaintiffs cannot seek damages for things such as parental guidance or the loss that they will suffer because, for example, they will not be able to have a grandfather/grandmother for their future children. Damages can include the cost of the funeral, unpaid medical bills that the estate must pay which would have been part of the survivors inheritance, and a lost inheritance.
There is a second aspect of a wrongful death case that allows the estate of the deceased to collect based on the pain and suffering that the deceased suffered while alive. More specifically, it is the executor of the estate of the deceased who is the Plaintiff. A person who dies several weeks after a fire due to infection and who was conscious clearly suffers more than someone who passed away during while asleep due to some medication overdose or some similar type poisoning.
Many times cases like this will require medical experts to speak to the jury about what happened in manner so that they understand complicated medical events in everyday language. The same thing hold true for economic experts that speak to the financial losses that are attributable to the loss of a parent, spouse or bread winner.
If someone in your family died as a result of the negligence of another, you must contact a strong personal injury law firm. The wrongful death lawyers at Napoli, Shkolnik, PLLC have the experience and compassion to treat wrongful death cases with the attention and professionalism that they deserve. You can call us at 212-397-1000 or fill out our online contact information so someone can contact you.