The tragic loss of a loved one can be devastating. Learning that your loved one lost their life due to the negligence of another party adds insult to injury. Unfortunately, horrific incidents occur daily across New York State that results in the loss of life. Not only do these tragic events cause emotional trauma to the surviving family members, but it can cause financial instability as well.
When these incidents occur, the surviving family members are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. Although no amount of money will ever replace the lives of those who passed away so tragically, it can help alleviate some of the financial burdens resulting from the death.
At the law firm of Ramos & Ramos, we truly understand how overwhelming this entire situation can be. We work diligently to protect families in wrongful death claims so they can get the justice they deserve.
Elements of A Wrongful Death Case In New York
In order to substantiate a wrongful death claim in New York State, you must prove five basic elements. To recover compensation in a wrongful death claim, you must prove:
- The defendant acted recklessly or negligently
- The decedent’s death was a direct result of the defendant’s reckless or negligent behavior
- The decedent would have been able to file a claim in court for personal injury had death not occurred
- That the decedent has a surviving spouse, child, or other beneficiaries
- That the surviving spouse, child, or other beneficiary suffered financial damages due to the death
Under New York State law, several actions can cause wrongful death. Negligence or misconduct of a person, company, or other entity must have caused the death. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death claims include:
- Criminal activities/behaviors
- Medical malpractice
- Faulty/defective products or parts
- Automobile accident
- Semi-truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Slip and fall accident
- Negligent occupational hazard
- Construction accident
- Dog Bites
- Premises liability
Claimants must prove the respondent acted in a reckless or negligent manner and their actions directly caused the death of their loved one. In order to successfully prove your claim for wrongful death, it is imperative to contact an attorney from Ramos & Ramos as soon as possible. We have more than 60 years of personal injury law experience and have helped countless New York residents who have lost a loved one as a result of negligence recover damages for the losses they sustained and we can help you too. Call us today to speak with a compassionate and skilled lawyer about your situation.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In New York
Unlike most states, New York does not extend the right to file wrongful death lawsuits to family members impacted by the loss of their loved one. Instead, the state places the responsibility for filing a claim on behalf of the personal representative of the estate.
Family members are only entitled to file wrongful death claims in New York State if they were designed as the personal representative to the estate of the decedent. Family members who may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim in New York include:
- Surviving Spouses
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- Surviving grandparents
In some cases, the wrongful death claim can be filed by any dependent that demonstrates they suffered financial hardship as the result of the decedent’s death.
Conversely, the personal representative to the estate is able to seek damages for losses suffered by the decedent’s heirs, beneficiaries, children, and spouse as well as any damages for any losses suffered by the decedent’s estate.
At the conclusion of the wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative is treated by the court as if they hold the damages awarded in trust for the surviving family members that are entitled to the awards. The damages awarded in a wrongful death claim are generally distributed in accordance with intestate laws if there was no will left on file. If a will was provided on behalf of the decedent, the awards will be given as specified.
Filing a wrongful death claim in New York State is very fact-specific and detail oriented. Claimants must be able to prove the respondent caused the decedent’s death and they must prove the number of damages incurred as a result. Working with an attorney from Ramos & Ramos will ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation for damages you sustained.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Individuals who file wrongful death claims in New York are able to recover compensation for damages acquired by the loss of the loved one. These awards are very fact-specific and vary greatly from case to case. Some of the most common awards for wrongful death claims in New York include:
- Funeral and burial expenses: These awards are based on the costs of the decedent’s final expenses. This can include the costs of the funeral, burial, cremation, or any other costs associated with end-of-life arrangements.
- Loss of wages: This award generally includes compensation for wages the decedent lost due to injuries or death. This calculation often includes the total amount of earnings the decedent would have made throughout the remainder of their natural life, including inflation.
- Loss of benefits suffered by the decedent’s surviving children: These awards often include healthcare coverage, work benefits, retirement benefits, or even inheritance.
- Medical expenses: These awards cover the cost for all medical expenses related to the injury or illness that resulted in the decedent’s passing.
- Loss of support and services provided by the decedent to the family: These awards are based on chores, household tasks, and other services performed by the decedent during their lifetime.
- The value of parental care, nurturing, and guidance to children of the decedent: This award is provided for children who have lost a parent. The death severely compromises their relationship, and the court recognizes the extent to which children suffer when losing a parent
- Pain and suffering of the decedent due to injuries or illness: If the decedent suffered mentally, physically, or emotionally due to their injuries or illness, the court can award compensation based on the amount of suffering they endured. This area is quite difficult to calculate and often requires extensive detail that accurately depicts what the decedent went through before death.
- 9% interest on all damages awarded calculated from the date of death
Some damage calculations require detailed presentations to a jury to ensure they fully understand the extent of the losses sustained. Other damages, like lost wages and medical expenses, require expert witnesses to calculate the totals based on their professional knowledge and ability.
Under New York Law, family members of the decedent are unable to recover compensation for their own mental anguish, loss of companionship, or pain and suffering even if the decedent was a child.
Parents may be able to recover damages for the lost value of household chores and other services performed by the child. The amounts of awards for services are generally reduced by the costs the parents would have incurred for the child until they reached adulthood. Working with an experienced wrongful death attorney from the law firm of Ramos & Ramos will help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your case.
Recovering Punitive Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
There are some instances when punitive damages can be awarded in wrongful death claims in New York. Punitive damages are not awarded as compensation for any losses sustained by the claimant. Alternatively, these are typically awarded as a form of punishment to the responsible party.
In order for punitive damages to be awarded, the claimant must prove not only that the wrongdoing was intentional, but their degree of negligence and dishonesty implies a criminal indifference to their civil obligations. In order to recover the maximum amount of punitive damages for severe negligence, it is imperative to hire a wrongful death attorney to handle your case. Call the legal team at Ramos & Ramos today to speak with a compassionate wrongful death attorney today
Comparative Fault in New York State Wrongful Death Claims
If the decedent shared some degree of fault with the respondent, the court would decrease the number of damages awarded to the claimant based on the percentage of fault the decedent sustains. In order to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation for your claim, it is imperative to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you with your claim. These cases are extremely detail-oriented, making it crucial to accurately and fully demonstrate how your loved one’s suffering was due to another party’s actions.
Wrongful Death Attorneys in New York Help Protect Your Legal Rights
Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming. The time constraints and overly complicated processing requirements can be intimidating for anyone, let alone families that are suffering from the tragic loss of a loved one.
Working with our compassionate and skilled legal team at Ramos & Ramos ensures you can focus on your family and healing while we take on the legal responsibilities for you. Our team will gather evidence to support your case and negotiate fair and full settlements on your behalf.
If you have lost a loved one due to the neglect or reckless endangerment of another party, contact Ramos & Ramos today to schedule a consultation. We will review your case to determine the best legal approach for your case to recover the compensation and justice you deserve. We are standing by, waiting to take your call. Call us today at 716-810-6140.