There are few things in life that are more difficult than losing a loved one. In many cases, the death was the result of natural causes or an illness. In situations where the death is the result of nursing home neglect or abuse, medical malpractice, or an accident, it can be hard to come to grips with the loss.
If your family member died because of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against them. Through this type of personal injury lawsuit, you can recover financial compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of support, loss of companionship, and other losses. A seasoned wrongful death lawyer can help you understand your rights and decide how to move forward.
The Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC offers skilled, compassionate legal representation to family members who have lost loved ones because of something that someone else did or failed to do. We aggressively advocate for our clients, working hard to get them maximum compensation for their losses. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation at our law offices in White Plains, Uniondale, or Manhattan.
Dedicated and Aggressive Wrongful Death Representation
The passing of a family member caused by the neglect of others seems unimaginable until it actually happens. If this has happened to you, please contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC. We will provide sound legal advice and moral support during this difficult time. We will use our decades of experience to successfully guide you through the legal process and pursue the deserved financial compensation.
Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for clients in wrongful death settlements. We have represented the families of wrongful death victims throughout New York State, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties.
A successful resolution will provide a form of closure and enable you and your family to obtain the necessary financial support. Our New York personal injury lawyers look forward to meeting and working with you. Please contact one of the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC New York law offices today.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under New York law, a wrongful death is any death that is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default. One way to think about wrongful death claims is that it is a lawsuit that the deceased person could have filed if they had survived. Because the deceased person cannot bring the lawsuit for themselves, another person has to bring the claim on their behalf.
Almost any type of wrongful act can be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck crashes
- Slip and falls
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Construction accidents
- Intentional acts, including assault and battery and other crimes
The key in a wrongful death lawsuit is that you must be able to prove that the at-fault party acted negligently (carelessly), intentionally, or recklessly. For example, if your family member was killed in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to bring a claim against the drunk driver for their reckless conduct. Alternatively, if a doctor misses your loved one’s cancer symptoms and they ultimately die from cancer that could have been treated, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against them for wrongful death based on medical malpractice.
It can be hard to know whether you have a viable claim, particularly when you are grieving the unexpected loss of your loved one. In this situation, your best course of action is to schedule a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney. During this appointment, your lawyer will listen to your story and offer you advice on your rights and options for pursuing legal action.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
While wrongful death actions are a type of personal injury claim, they are unique because the deceased person cannot bring the lawsuit for themselves. Instead, someone brings the claim on their behalf. Under New York law, a personal representative or executor must bring the lawsuit. The personal representative represents the deceased person’s estate in a wrongful death claim.
If the lawsuit is successful, then any damages (compensation) that are recovered will be distributed to the surviving family members. The money will then be distributed to family members in accordance with New York’s intestate succession laws. Intestate succession is the legal process by which a deceased person’s estate is distributed if they died without a valid last will and testament.
Generally, a surviving spouse and children take priority under these laws. If the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse or children, then other family members – including grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and even cousins could inherit. A White Plains injury lawyer can help you determine who may be eligible to recover damages in a wrongful death claim based on your family’s unique circumstances.
Damages in a New York Wrongful Death Claim
In any personal injury case, the injury victims may be entitled to financial compensation, known as damages. These damages typically fall into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages compensate accident victims for their losses, while punitive damages are designed to penalize someone who engaged in intentional or grossly reckless behavior.
In a wrongful death claim, economic damages may include funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses for any treatment the deceased person received prior to their death, financial support that the deceased person would have provided, and other direct financial losses, such as property damage for a motor vehicle involved in a car accident. Non-economic damages may include the value of support and services the deceased would have received, loss of companionship, conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased before they passed, and the value of parental care and guidance for surviving children. Survivors may also be eligible for interest on the damages award, which is calculated from the date of their loved one’s death.
In rare cases, punitive damages may be available to punish a wrongdoer. Punitive damages are limited to cases where the responsible parties did something intentional or reckless. For example, if a doctor operated on a patient while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, then they may be liable for punitive damages.
Reach Out Today to Talk to a New York Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one died as the result of a negligent or intentional act, then you may be entitled to a wrongful death settlement. Our law firm can guide you through the process, taking on the insurance company and working hard to get you the money that you deserve for your loss.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we know that money won’t make your family whole again after a wrongful death. Our goal is to help you achieve justice for your loved one’s death. We will fight for your right to full compensation.
To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in New York is 2 years. However, this may not be the only statute of limitations applicable to your case. For example, in medical malpractice cases the statute of limitations is 2.5 years from the date of the malpractice. If the death was the result of a crime, the statute of limitations for the intentional tort (ie. assault, battery) is 1 year from the date of the criminal act.
While these time periods might seem long, it is important to consult with a New York wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after a loved one passes. This can ensure that important evidence is not lost and that witness memories are fresh. In White Plains, call the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to set up a free consultation.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
It may be possible to resolve a wrongful death action without legal representation – but it isn’t a good idea. These cases must be brought according to New York’s wrongful death statute, and require an understanding of both this law and related personal injury laws. An attorney can ensure that the legal action is brought properly, in accordance with the law.
Working with a lawyer is also the best way to get top dollar for your case. Insurance companies are known for denying or minimizing legitimate personal injury claims. A White Plains wrongful death attorney will fight for your right to a fair settlement for your losses.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t be required to pay anything upfront. Instead, your lawyer will get a percentage of any settlement or verdict at trial. If they don’t recover money for you, then they won’t be paid.
Contingency fee arrangements make it possible for anyone to get the legal help that they need after a tragic loss. In White Plains, reach out to the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.