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Proving a wrongful death suit in New York

Losing a loved one in an accident can be traumatic on many levels. In addition to dealing with the grief of losing a family member, you may also find yourself struggling to pay off their medical bills, cover funeral costs, and keep the household running without your loved one’s income.

Filing a wrongful death claim against any negligent parties who caused the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death may help ease some of your financial burdens during this challenging time. In New York, you have up to two years from your loved one’s death to file your claim.

What types of accidents warrant wrongful death claims?

Many wrongful death claims stem from accidents caused by the negligence or intentional acts committed by another party. Wrongful death claims often stem from the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products
  • Intentional acts

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Under New York law, only certain parties are allowed to file a wrongful death claim. These parties include:

  • Decedent’s spouse
  • Decedent’s children
  • Decedent’s parents
  • Representative of the decedent’s estate

Proving a wrongful death claim

Under N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law Sec. 5-4-1, any death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default” is considered a “wrongful death,” in that the deceased person could have filed a personal injury suit if they had survived the accident. Generally, you will need to show that:

  • The negligence actions of the other party caused the decedent’s death and decedent would have been entitled to damages if they had survived.
  • There are survivors entitled to financial compensation (e.g., dependents of the decedent).
  • The decedent’s death caused monetary damages to survivors.

If you need assistance with your wrongful death claim, an attorney in your area may be able to help. Your attorney can review the specifics of your case and give you an idea of what to expect moving forward.

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