Wrongful death claims are a final form of protection for those harmed by the bad behaviors of others. New York’s personal injury laws include a wrongful death statute that can lead to civil court proceedings when someone dies.
Wrongful death claims create financial accountability for both individuals and businesses that cause harm to others and reduce the losses suffered by those already struggling with the recent death of a family member. Wrongful death lawsuits can be very useful for those negatively affected by a car crash or another unfortunate situation that led to someone’s death.
There are important rules that limit wrongful death claims in New York which you will need to know about when making decisions about your situation.
1. Wrongful death claims require proof of culpability and losses
To bring a civil claim against another party, you need to show that either their negligence, wrongful acts or default caused your loved one’s death. In other words, there should be proof of misconduct, a failure to act or negligent and irresponsible conduct.
There also need to be verifiable financial or non-economic losses related to the recent fatality. Lost wages, loss of support in the home and the pain and suffering of the deceased are all examples of claimable losses in a wrongful death lawsuit.
2. Only the estate’s representative can pursue the lawsuit
New York has rules about who gets to file a wrongful death claim. Although the lawsuit benefits the family members of the deceased, the claim must come from the person handling the estate.
The personal representative or executor must have paperwork showing that the probate courts in the appropriate jurisdiction have granted them the authority to handle estate administration to initiate a claim.
3. There is a limited window for filing
It is very easy to let grief and the psychological side effects of losing a loved one, like depression, prevent you from taking the smartest steps after a tragedy affects your family. However, you need to think about your circumstances and ask the courts to grant you justice quickly, or else you run the risk of losing certain options.
New York imposes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. If you wait longer than two years after someone’s death to file, you may not be able to pursue your claim even with compelling evidence and obvious losses.
Evaluating your situation with professional help could facilitate a timely wrongful death lawsuit that helps limit the losses your family must absorb.