Buffalo Wrongful Death Lawyers
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New York
At Faraci Lange, LLP, we recognize that there is nothing more difficult than losing a loved one suddenly and without warning. If someone you care about recently passed away due to the careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct of another, we want to help you obtain justice. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party, you can not only hold them accountable for the devastation they have caused, but you can also work to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
A successful wrongful death action can provide you and your family with much-needed financial relief and the resources you need to heal. Our firm is here to help guide you through the process and protect your rights every step of the way.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
In New York, a wrongful death is defined as the death of an individual resulting from “a wrongful act, neglect, or default.” Wrongful death cases are much like personal injury cases but, because the person who died (known as the “decedent”) cannot bring the action on their own, someone must bring it on their behalf.
Often, wrongful death cases arise from the following types of incidents:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Large truck collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Accidents caused by defective products
- Accidents resulting from unsafe premises
- Dog bites/attacks
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Criminal/violent acts
If you believe your loved one’s death was the result of another person or party’s negligent, wrongful, or intentional conduct, or if you believe a manufacturer or similar entity may be strictly liable for the incident that caused their death, reach out to Faraci Lange, LLP right away.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
Unlike many other states, surviving family members in New York cannot file a wrongful death action unless they are also the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Only the personal representative (also known as the executor) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent died without a will or without naming a personal representative, the court will appoint one.
Although the personal representative must be the one to file the lawsuit, damages in wrongful death cases are sought on behalf of eligible surviving individuals. These individuals include the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, children, and other heirs and dependents. To learn more about who can recover damages in a wrongful death case in New York, contact our firm today.
What Is a Survivorship Action?
When a person dies as a result of someone else’s careless, wrongful, or negligent conduct in New York, there are actually two civil legal actions that may occur. The first is a wrongful death claim, which seeks damages on behalf of eligible surviving family members and dependents. The second is a survivorship action, which seeks damages on behalf of the estate.
A survivorship action must also be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate and may compensate the estate for things like medical bills, funeral expenses, and other costs paid directly by the estate in relation to the decedent’s passing.
Both wrongful death and survivorship actions are also separate from criminal proceedings that may or may not occur. A criminal case may be brought against the person or party responsible for the decedent’s death, but the outcome of that case does not necessarily affect the outcome of a wrongful death or survivorship action.
What Types of Damages Can Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Case?
Depending on the specific details of your case, you may be entitled to recover the following damages:
- “Reasonable and necessary” medical bills related to the decedent’s final treatment/care
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Loss of expected financial support, wages, income, and employment benefits
- Loss of anticipated inheritance
- The reasonable dollar value of support and services the decedent would have provided
- The value of guidance, care, nurturing, and counsel provided by a parent to a child
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by the decedent related to their final injury or illness
- Interest on the damages awarded from the date of death until the date of recovery
Note that, in New York, survivors cannot recover compensation for their own pain and suffering, mental or emotional distress, anguish, or loss of love, companionship, counsel, or guidance resulting from the decedent’s passing.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
The statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in New York is just two years from the date of death. This means that you only have two years to file your lawsuit; if you wait too long, your case will almost certainly be dismissed, and you will be unable to sue the liable party for damages.
There are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. If the decedent died due to medical malpractice, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought for up to two and a half years (30 months) after the date of death. If there is a pending criminal case against the person or party responsible for the decedent’s death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate has one year from the date the criminal case concludes to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In any case, it is always better to act sooner rather than later. The sooner you contact our Buffalo wrongful death attorneys at Faraci Lange, LLP, the sooner we can begin gathering evidence and putting together a powerful case on your behalf.
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