New York City Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful death is defined as an incident in which a person is killed as a result of someone else’s recklessness or negligence or as a result of someone else causing intentional harm.
The New York City wrongful death attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. have helped the families of many victims of wrongful death incidents, and we understand the traumatic nature of these cases. Losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence is an exceptionally painful experience for which the law supplies a legal remedy that can help families move forward.
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims are brought against defendants who either caused someone else’s death through negligence or as the result of some action that was intentional. Wrongful death claims provide the deceased’s loved ones (or the deceased’s estate) with a mechanism for bringing a lawsuit against the person legally responsible for causing their family member’s death. A wrongful death claim is a specific kind of civil lawsuit that obviously deals with the harshest accidents of all – those where a loved one is lost because of someone else’s negligence.
The Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
If an injury victim who dies as a result of someone else’s negligence would have been justified in bringing a personal injury claim if he or she had lived, a claim of wrongful death is likely appropriate. Several important elements must be present in any successful wrongful death claim.
The defendant in the case had a legal duty to the deceased
The defendant in the wrongful death case must have had some duty to the deceased, but this relationship does not have to be as complicated as you may think. We all have the general legal obligation to avoid engaging in actions that put others at unnecessary risk. For example, when a motorist gets behind the wheel of his or her car, that driver takes on the immense responsibility of driving safely. If the motorist fails to do so and his or her negligence leads to an accident that causes your loved one to be killed, that negligent driver had an obligation to your loved one (the obligation of driving reasonably safely). Another example is that manufacturers have an obligation to make products that are reasonably safe for consumers to use as they are intended to be used.
The defendant breached his or her obligation to the deceased
It is necessary for the defendant to have breached his or her obligation to the deceased. The standard of negligence in a wrongful death claim is generally based on what a reasonable person/peer would have done in a similar situation. If a reasonable person would have behaved more prudently or with more care, the defendant could be deemed negligent in his or her actions. For example, because the motorist above failed to drive reasonably safely, the driver breached the obligation owed the deceased.
The defendant’s breach of obligation directly caused the victim’s death
The defendant’s breach of obligation must have directly caused your loved one’s death. For example. If the driver’s negligence caused an accident that leaves your loved one dead, you likely have a viable wrongful death claim.
You suffered real damages that can be compensated.
To bring a wrongful death claim, you must be able to show that the death of your loved one caused you (and your family) to suffer real damages. Such damages can include:
Medical bills that apply to the deceased’s medical care after sustaining the injury that ultimately lead to his or her death
Lost wages and earnings – if the deceased’s income helped support the claimants
The emotional pain and suffering endured by the deceased as a result of his or her final injury or illness
An experienced New York wrongful death attorney will help you establish each of these elements in your case and will skillfully advocate on your behalf for the compensation to which you are entitled. While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, obtaining compensation for your damages can help you and your family move forward after this extremely painful setback.
Causes of Wrongful Death
The most common circumstances that result in a wrongful death claim include:
Reckless Driving – Motorists are responsible for traveling our roads in a reasonably safe manner, and when they fail to do so, they endanger everyone who shares the road with them. When reckless driving results in a fatal accident, a wrongful death claim can ensue.
Airplane Crashes – Airplane manufacturers are responsible for building safe planes, airplane pilots are responsible for safely flying those planes, and airplane companies are responsible for running a safe operation overall. When any one of these parties fails to fulfill their responsibilities regarding safe airline travel, dangerous accidents and wrongful death claims can be the result.
Workplace Accidents – While dangerous accidents can happen at any type of job, including office jobs, there are certain types of work that are most prone to deadly accidents. Construction work and factory work are two prime examples.
Unsafe Premises – When we enter stores, restaurants, and movie theaters (and even private residences to a somewhat lesser extent), we are owed a reasonably safe experience. When these entities fail to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition, it can lead to dangerous – even deadly – accidents like slip and falls, that could end in wrongful death claims.
Defective Products – We all use a wide array of consumer products during the course of our day, and we have the reasonable expectation that it is safe to do so. When a product is dangerously defective, it can lead to life-threatening injuries. Defective pharmaceuticals, defective baby products, and defective toys are items that are often associated with wrongful death claims.
Pedestrian Accidents – When you head out in New York on foot, you know that you’re making a healthy choice, but you might not stop to consider exactly how vulnerable you are to being injured in a traffic accident. When you’re walking, after all, absolutely nothing comes between you and the impact of an accident with an immensely heavy vehicle. Fatal pedestrian accidents can result in wrongful death claims.
Nursing Home Abuse – Nursing home residents typically have little choice regarding their living situations. Generally, residents are placed in nursing homes by their families. Residents of nursing homes are among society’s most vulnerable citizens, and when they suffer abuse at the hands of their caretakers, it’s an especially egregious situation. If you’ve lost a loved one to nursing home abuse, you need an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side.
Find out how many American deaths result from accidents like those listed above on the US Centers For Disease Control (CDC) website here.
Liability for a Wrongful Death
These are just a few of the possible causes of a wrongful death. Liability for an accident or death is a complex issue; knowledgeable personal injury attorneys can determine whether the family of the deceased may have a valid wrongful death case.
The Family of the Deceased May Act
The husband or wife, children and parents of the deceased are among those who may pursue a legal action for wrongful death. If a minor child would be the appropriate person to file a wrongful death claim, he or she will need an adult guardian to act on his or her behalf.
Losses in a Wrongful Death
No matter what the circumstances of a wrongful death, the family members left behind will be faced not only with the shock and heartache of losing a loved one; many difficult financial challenges are ahead, including costs and losses such as:
Medical and hospital bills related to the deceased’s final illness or injury
Funeral and burial expenses
Loss of financial support from the deceased, including future earnings
Loss of a parent’s training and guidance
Loss of the companionship of a spouse, parent, child or other loved one
Emotional pain and suffering of the survivors
Compensation for the deceased’s suffering
Find more about the legal definition of negligence at Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute.
Statute of Limitations
New York imposes a time limit for bringing a claim of wrongful death – known as a statute of limitations. You must file your wrongful death claim within two years of your loved one’s death. If the claimant is a child or is otherwise incapable of bringing such a claim, a guardian is expected to do it for him or her – there is no extension of time available in such an instance.
Your Wrongful Death Case
If your loved one was killed in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, your case will likely follow a path similar to the one outlined below:
Your attorney will gather all the pertinent facts and evidence to help establish that your case has all of the elements necessary to prove wrongful death.
Your attorney will calculate the full spectrum of damages you suffered as a result of your loss.
Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the defendant’s attorney (or insurance company) for compensation that covers your damages in their entirety.
Your attorney will hire the appropriate experts in support of your wrongful death claim.
If your attorney is unable to reach an acceptable settlement with the defendant’s representatives, he or she will move forward with filing a complaint with the court, which will instigate your wrongful death lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, you are the plaintiff – the person who brings the suit – and the person whom you charge as being responsible for your loved one’s death is the defendant.
Your complaint will outline the specifics of your case, which includes your reasons for bringing the suit, the law supporting your case, and the damages for which you seek compensation.
This is a necessarily simplified outline of an extremely complex legal procedure that requires professional legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected throughout.
If You’ve Lost a Loved One to Someone Else’s Negligence, Speak to One of Our Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys about Your Loss Today
Losing a loved one to the negligence of someone else is unspeakably painful, but it is not especially uncommon. Wrongful death claims are unique cases that require specialized legal attention. The loss of your loved one is likely to reverberate in your family’s life far into the future, and in myriad ways. While no amount of compensation can ever bring your loved one back into the family fold, obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled can help you move forward on the long, arduous path toward some form of recovery.
If you believe that your loved one’s death could amount to a wrongful death claim, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your loved one’s memory to consult with an experienced New York wrongful death attorney today. It’s important to remember that a statute of limitations does apply. If you’re ready to explore your legal options with one of the dedicated wrongful death attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman in New York City, click here. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury firms in the City, and this level of experience informs the work we do in every wrongful death case. Your case matters, and we’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 917-268-0344 for more information and to schedule a free consultation today.