Losing a loved one is never easy, even when you know that death is imminent. When a family member dies suddenly due to the negligent actions of another party, the shock and grief can seem like too much to bear. Whether it was due to a car accident, medical malpractice, construction accident, or another preventable cause, our personal injury law firm understands that you have endured a tragic loss. If you lost your spouse or another family member who contributed to the financial upkeep of your household, your stress level from the economic loss may feel especially overwhelming.
Our law firm, Raphaelson & Levine, has served injured New Yorkers and those filing a wrongful death claim for almost 30 years. We take pride in acting as the voice of the injured in the New York City area. While we realize that no amount of money can replace your deceased loved one, we are here to help you and other surviving family members recover the compensation you need and deserve to get through this challenging time. Raphaelson & Levine invites you to contact our law firm at 212-268-3222 to request a free case evaluation of your wrongful death claim today.
You might have a legitimate wrongful death case if your family member died due to the negligent or wrongful act of another person or business. However, laws in New York State prevent surviving family members from initiating a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. The one exception to this is when a family member acts in the role of a personal representative for the estate of the deceased person. As a surviving family member, you can also assign a personal representative to initiate and handle the wrongful death claim. The person in this role is the only person whom the state allows to move forward with the lawsuit.
New York follows the common law negligence rule for both personal injury and wrongful death. What this means is that another party can face liability for causing injuries that ultimately proved fatal if you can prove that he or she failed to use reasonable care to prevent your loved one's death. While the cause is typically some type of accident, wrongful death can occur for other reasons as well. Here are some of the most common scenarios among clients pursuing a wrongful death claim with our personal injury law firm:
New York law regarding wrongful death requires the family member or personal representative to prove negligence. You must also demonstrate that the defendant in your wrongful death case had a duty of care towards the deceased person. Duty of care means that a person or organization had a legal and ethical obligation to treat your family member with caution when performing activities that could be potentially dangerous to him or her.
With help from your Bronx wrongful death lawyer, you must also prove that your family member would not have died if not for the negligent actions of the other party. Finally, you must demonstrate proof that you and other family members suffered economic loss and/or non-economic loss to move forward with the wrongful death lawsuit.
New York law allows parents, spouses, and adult children to appoint or act as the family's personal representative in the personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. Minor children require an adult guardian to act on their behalf to obtain personal representation. In limited situations, New York law may allow another family member to initiate a wrongful death claim if the deceased person does not have a spouse, children, or living parents.
Filing a wrongful death claim is a civil matter and not a criminal one. The person or company that caused your family member's death could face civil and criminal court trials. Your personal representative can hire a wrongful death attorney for a civil lawsuit, even if the criminal court acquits the defendant. The O.J. Simpson case is an excellent example of this. Even though a jury acquitted Simpson of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, the Brown and Goldman families successfully filed a wrongful death civil suit against him.
Conscious pain and suffering is a subcategory of wrongful death that may apply in your situation. With this type of claim, your personal representative can seek damages on behalf of your deceased loved one if they experienced significant pain and suffering before death. The deceased person must have been consciously aware of the pain and suffering and the negligent actions of the other party that caused it.
Proving that a person who is no longer living suffered conscious pain and suffering can be challenging, but our wrongful death attorneys never back down from a challenge. We work with medical experts and forensic pathologists to provide indisputable medical analysis that your family member suffered due to negligent or criminal actions from another party and that he or she was fully aware of the physical pain and mental anguish.
If your loved one had lived after sustaining a serious injury, New York law would have provided him or her a window of three years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. With a wrongful death case, that timeline drops to two years from the date of death, whether immediate or occurring later.
Although New York law gives you three years to pursue a claim of conscious pain and suffering, it makes more sense from a legal standpoint to include it with your wrongful death claim. Because of this, you should plan to assign a personal representative to initiate both a wrongful death claim and conscious pain and suffering claim within two years of the date of your loved one's death since that is the statute of limitations in New York.
Determining compensation in a wrongful death case is not an easy task. The insurance company or jury considers several individual factors such as the cause of your loved one's death, family relationships, how much your family member suffered prior to death, his or her age, and whether the deceased person made economic contributions to you and other family members.
You can expect the insurance company or legal representation for the other party to deny responsibility for the wrongful death of your family member. This is just one of many reasons why you need the experienced wrongful death attorneys from Raphaelson & Levine on your side. With our help, you could receive compensation in some or all of these categories:
Some categories of compensation, such as funeral and medical expenses, are simple to determine because of the insurance company or jury bases the calculations on documented financial losses. Other categories, such as loss of consortium or loss of parental support are more subjective. To obtain the maximum amount of money in your wrongful death case, it's imperative to secure legal representation from the experienced wrongful death lawyers at Raphaelson & Levine as soon as possible.
Raphaelson & Levine is so sorry for what you and other surviving family members have had to endure since your loved one died. We encourage you to call us today to request a free consultation for your wrongful death claim. The phone number is 212-268-3222. You can also complete a contact form for a free case evaluation. Our law office serves bereaved family members in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Long Island, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the entire New York City metropolitan area. We also encourage you to read our client reviews to learn more about the excellent attorney-client relationship you can expect with a wrongful death attorney from Raphaelson & Levine.