Bronx Wrongful Death Lawyer
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Everyone experiences accidents in their lifetime, which may vary from falling and receiving minor scrapes to devastating vehicle crashes that cause permanent disability or loss of life. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you recover necessary compensation when you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.
However, navigating the legal system on your own may prove exceptionally challenging when you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one. Wrongful death lawyers provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of the New York State legal system. An experienced legal team can help you recover monetary compensation for your loss and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Defining a Wrongful Death in New York
N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.1 describes the components of a wrongful death claim as follows:
“The personal representative, duly appointed in this state or any other jurisdiction, of a decedent who is survived by distributes may maintain an action to recover damages for a wrongful act, neglect or default which caused the decedent’s death against a person who would have been liable to the decedent by reason of such wrongful conduct if death had not ensued.”
As a decedent’s personal representative, the law may allow you to sue for monetary damages. In awarding pecuniary (monetary) damages, the court may consider factors such as funeral and medical expenses when calculating an award.
Further, the court may also award punitive damages to the decedent’s personal representative as a means to punish the accused for their reckless or depraved behavior that led to the decedent’s passing. The compensation available varies with each wrongful death lawsuit.
Common Events Leading to Wrongful Death Cases in the Bronx
A personal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit when they believe the death was caused by another party’s intentional behavior or negligence. Fatal accidents occur in all sorts of venues and circumstances involving vehicles, defective products, and medical negligence.
Here are the most common events that lead New Yorkers to file wrongful death lawsuits.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
This category includes car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. According to crash statistics from the New York State Department of Health, more than 1,000 people die each year due to unintentional motor vehicle traffic-related injuries. Traffic-related accidents also cause more than 12,000 hospitalizations each year. Some of these deaths may qualify relatives and authorized representatives to file wrongful death lawsuits.
Workplace Accidents, Hazards, and Slip & Falls
The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that more than 5,000 people die each year in the United States from workplace accidents, with approximately 90 of those deaths occurring in New York City. Falls, slips, and trips cause more than a quarter of those deaths.
Product Liability and Defective Drugs and Devices
Statistics shared by The New York Times indicate that more than 80,000 people have died across the country due to faulty medical devices, and that’s just one industry where harmful products have caused substantial pain and suffering to innocent consumers. Family members of those killed by defective products may sue for wrongful death.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine indicated that medical errors represent the third-leading cause of death in the United States each year, totaling more than 250,000 lives lost each year. Only cancer and heart disease claim more lives.
Sexual Assault or Assault & Battery
Assault represents one of the most heinous events that may lead a family to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Estimates from the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault suggest that 50,000 women are raped in New York City each year. Still, survivors report only a fraction to the police.
Criminal Conduct or Behavior
When the authorities charge a person or entity with a crime that caused someone’s death, the family may have the opportunity to file a wrongful death lawsuit to secure financial compensation. However, it’s essential to remember that a wrongful death claim is independent of any criminal proceeding related to the incident. Wrongful death attorneys file lawsuits in civil court, while the authorities file their charges in criminal court.
Prevalence of Motor Vehicle-Related Deaths in New York and the Bronx
The New York Bureau of Occupational Health and Injury Prevention published statistics indicating that motor vehicle traffic injuries kill more than 1,000 vehicle occupants, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists each year. Traffic accidents represent the fourth-leading cause of injury-related deaths in New York State.
Statistics for December 2021 from the NYPD indicate that three motorists, two passengers, and two pedestrians died in motor vehicle collisions in the Bronx. Some contributing factors for injury and fatal crashes included aggressive driving, illegal drugs, and unsafe driving speeds; however, the biggest cause of injuries and deaths was distracted driving.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York?
Children, parents, spouses, and court-appointed personal representatives are the only people who can file wrongful death lawsuits in the state of New York. A personal representative as defined by N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 1-2.13 is an individual who has received approval from the court to administer a decedent’s estate. Other than children, parents, and spouses, administrators can include grandchildren, siblings, and other blood relatives.
What damages are available in a New York wrongful death lawsuit?
The monetary damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit vary greatly based on factors like funeral expenses, lost wages, and medical expenses related to the victim’s injury.
Here are a few examples of factors that may influence the compensation amount:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses related to the victim’s injury
- Past and future lost wages
- Lost inheritances
- Loss of support or services from the deceased
- Loss of consortium (personal relationship with the deceased)
- Loss of parental support
Within N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.3, the law indicates that juries, judges, or referees may decide on a fair and just compensation amount when awarding damages. Cases in which the decedent’s death occurred on or after September 1, 1982, may include additional money for punitive damages and certain expenses. An award may include compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering before their death.
Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York
New York State gives personal representatives two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations (SOL). Victims or personal representatives may not file lawsuits after the expiration of the SOL.
The state does list an exception within N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.1 regarding the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. That exception exists when the defendant in the wrongful death suit faces criminal charges for the incident that led to the decedent’s death. The statute of limitations in such cases is one year from the date the criminal case ends.
Why should I hire the attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg for my Bronx wrongful death lawsuit?
One of the essential steps in pursuing justice for a loved one is contacting a wrongful death lawyer. An attorney will help you determine the strength of your case, file your case promptly, and vigorously pursue appropriate compensation for your loss.
The devoted and nationally recognized legal team at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP treats every case and its participants with care. We believe that no one should suffer because of the wrongdoings of others. While we cannot take away the pain you might feel after the death of a loved one, we can help you seek justice for your loss.
Our client testimonials indicate that we are “more than willing to answer any questions,” that our clients “wouldn’t look anywhere else,” and that “Sam Meirowitz is the consummate professional that people are seeking – because he listened where others just talk.” We want to represent you in your time of need, and we’re ready to help in your wrongful death lawsuit.
Your discussions with us are confidential even if you choose to hire another attorney. Don’t let the legal system overwhelm you during this difficult time. Contact Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP today for a free consultation and assistance with your wrongful death lawsuit.
332 E. 149th St., Suite 201
Bronx, NY 10451