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New York Wrongful Death Attorney in NYC

The death of a loved one is a tragic event that we all must face at some point. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our attorneys understand that no amount of money in the world can bring back your loved one or ease your pain. However, when your loved one’s death is caused by another person, the law allows for rights of recovery for the surviving family members. If you have a loved one who has been killed due to negligence, an experienced New York wrongful death lawyer at Silberstein Awad & Miklos, P.C. will help you get the compensation you deserve.

What is Wrongful Death in New York?

A wrongful death in New York is considered an act of negligence or carelessness that results in the death of another person. New York requires plaintiffs to establish five elements of proof when bringing a wrongful death case. These include:

  • A death
  • The death was caused by the wrongful or negligent act of another person
  • The deceased could have pursued a personal injury claim if they had survived the accident
  • One or more people have suffered losses as a result of the death
  • The estate is eligible to recover damages

The only exception to these elements is when a fetus dies before they are born. Even when a negligent act causes this type of death, the individual cannot be held liable for the death.

Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Simply knowing a person who was killed due to a negligent act is not enough for people to file a wrongful death claim. In fact, in New York, people are not allowed to file a wrongful death claim just because they are family members of the deceased individual.

The only person who can file a wrongful death claim in New York is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. The personal representative is the individual named in the deceased’s will or elsewhere in the estate plan. When the estate plan does not outline a personal representative, or the deceased did not leave behind an estate plan, the court may appoint a personal representative to bring a wrongful death claim.

Although family members sometimes cannot file a wrongful death claim, the personal representative may attempt to recover damages for losses suffered by the deceased’s beneficiaries or heirs. A personal representative can also seek to recover damages for the deceased’s individual estate in a wrongful death claim. If the court does award damages, the court will treat the personal representative as the holder of a trust containing the damages, and they are to distribute the damages to the heirs and beneficiaries who are rightfully entitled to them.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims in NYC

The New York wrongful death attorneys at Silberstein Awad & Miklos, P.C. have represented thousands of clients in and around the New York area for more than three decades. We have a proven track record of taking on challenging cases and winning. Over the years, we have obtained multi-million dollar damage awards, and we always work hard to secure compensation for your losses.

Here are some of the most common types of wrongful death cases in NYC:

Nursing home abuse is all too common in New York. When abuse or neglect is severe, it can cause the most vulnerable sector of society to suffer a wrongful death.

Falls from a height, defective machinery, and electrocutions are just a few of the ways individuals die on construction sites.

Auto accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death claims. Vehicle accidents can easily cause a crash, particularly when individuals are traveling at high speeds or driving recklessly.

Property owners must ensure their property is safe for visitors. When someone slips and falls or is involved in another accident while on the property and suffers a wrongful death, the owner can be held liable.

Healthcare professionals owe the highest duty of care to their patients. While not all unsuccessful results indicate medical malpractice, healthcare professionals can be held liable when they do not provide the proper standard of care.

Playground equipment must always be in safe condition. When a child’s head becomes trapped in a structure or their clothing becomes caught on equipment, for instance, it can lead to strangulation. Daycare and school staff members are responsible for properly supervising children on playground equipment, and at all other times.

When any of these common accidents result in a wrongful death, it is strongly advised that family members contact an experienced New York wrongful death attorney. Wrongful death cases in the state are extremely complex, and the laws sometimes vastly differ from those of other states. A wrongful death lawyer can help individuals navigate the legal system, advise them of the laws and how they apply to their case, and help individuals recover the full amount of damages they deserve.

Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims

The damages available in wrongful death cases in New York will depend on the facts of the case. The most common damages in wrongful death claims in the state include:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Medical expenses incurred due to the deceased’s injury or illness that resulted in their death
  • Income the deceased lost between the time of their final injury or illness and their death
  • Loss of services and support the deceased provided for their relatives and household
  • Loss of care, guidance, and parental nurturing provided to the children
  • Loss of inheritance by surviving children
  • Loss of conscious and any pain or suffering the deceased suffered between the time of their illness or injury and their death
  • Interest on the damages, at a rate of nine percent, from the date of the person’s death

Unlike in other states, surviving loved ones cannot recover damages for their own pain and suffering, even if the deceased is a child. Damages for the loss of certain services, such as chores around the household, are available. However, the amount of these damages are reduced by the cost of caring for the child while they were still a minor.

In extremely rare cases, punitive damages may also be available in certain wrongful death claims. Unlike the above damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and not compensate heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased. Punitive damages are only awarded when the actions of the defendant are considered to be in complete disregard for the health or safety of a person or willful or wanton in nature.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims

Like all states, New York places a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. The statute places a time limit on these claims. Individuals in the state have only two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim. If more than two years has passed from the date of the death, the personal representative is barred from filing a claim and the heirs and beneficiaries will forfeit all damages. However, even if 2 years have passed, the decedent’s individual claim for personal injuries is still viable for another 6 months. Even if 2 years have passed, call a wrongful death attorney from our firm to see if any potential claims remain.

When children are eligible to file a claim, the statute of limitations is not stopped or delayed until the child turns 18 years old (or is otherwise considered legally incapacitated and so cannot file a claim). In these instances, the guardian of the child or legally incapacitated individual must file a claim on their behalf.

Get Legal Help Today

If a loved one has died as a result of negligence or some other fault in New York City, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Long Island, please contact a New York wrongful death attorney at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. today to schedule a free initial consultation.