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NYC Wrongful Death Attorney

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No one should have to experience the tragedy of wrongful death, but sadly, 8000 New Yorkers die from accidental injury every year. Although compensation cannot make up for the loss of a cherished family member, it can alleviate the resulting financial strain and provide some justice.

The legal team of NYC personal injury lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP understands the challenges families face in these tragic circumstances. We are passionate about helping these families pursue compensation to the maximum extent available.

What is wrongful death?

New York §5-4.1 defines wrongful death as an act of negligence that causes death. Negligence has four basic elements:

  • Legal duty of care – the defendant’s obligation to act in such a manner to prevent harm
  • Breach of the duty of care – the defendant’s failure to act safely and carefully (carelessness or recklessness)
  • Causation – the breach of duty contributed to or caused the death
  • Damages – the death caused monetary harm

For example, New York City motorists owe a duty of care to other drivers. Texting while driving breaches this duty by exposing other drivers to undue risks. If texting while driving causes or contributes to the death of another person, the at-fault driver may be liable in a wrongful death case.

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Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases in NYC

Wrongful deaths can occur in almost any situation. The most common situations New York City residents face include:

Wrongful Death by Car Accident

In 2020, 246 New Yorkers lost their lives in car accidents, including 99 pedestrians, 25 bicyclists, and 51 motorcyclists. According to a 2015 study, 64% of adult drivers admitted to speeding, and 19% admitted to texting while driving.

Liability in car accident cases can extend beyond the driver. You may have a case against a third party, such as a product manufacturer in the case of defective equipment. You may be able to hold the City of New York liable if the accident occurred in an area where the city failed to provide traffic calming measures.

Construction Accident Wrongful Deaths

Construction accidents in New York City resulted in 29 fatalities in 2019 and accounted for 32% of all workplace fatalities. New York City has passed several laws to protect construction workers, which govern scaffolding, excavation, demolition, and the duty of businesses and contractors to provide safe working environments.

Wrongful Death by Medical Malpractice

Malpractice occurs when a health care provider fails to provide a proper standard of care through misdiagnosis, negligence, or errors. Any licensed or certified health care provider or institution can be held liable for medical malpractice, including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Physician assistants
  • Medical technicians
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes

Workplace Wrongful Death Injuries

New York City workers suffered 59 workplace fatalities in 2020; the state total was 223. New York is a no-fault state, which means employer negligence is not required to receive workers’ compensation. Compensation is limited to monetary losses, but you may be able to file a product liability claim to recover non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Premises Liability (Slip and Fall Accident) Deaths

The New York State Department of Health estimates that two older New Yorkers die every day from slip and fall accidents. Fatal slips and falls can happen to anyone, especially with unsafe conditions such as wet floors, trip hazards, or icy sidewalks.

Slipping and falling only creates liability for the premises owner if negligence can be proven to have caused or contributed to the fall. The owner and victim could share fault. New York is a comparative fault state, so you can be compensated even if you were partially at fault.

Defective Product Wrongful Deaths

When use of a product causes injury or death, manufacturers and distributors are liable even if you cannot prove negligence, so long as any of the following conditions exists:

  • Manufacturing defect
  • Unsafe design
  • Lack of warnings

Many categories of products have caused wrongful deaths, including toys, baby equipment, automobile components, medical devices, and drugs. In some cases when deaths or injuries from a specific product become rampant, a mass tort action can be filed with a single judge.

Asbestos- and Mesothelioma-Related Deaths

Although most companies no longer use asbestos as insulation, workers continue to experience repercussions. Although companies that used asbestos are liable for the resulting wrongful deaths, many no longer exist or are bankrupt.

To protect the victims, Congress established laws allowing these companies to set up trust funds for the victims and their families, which is required when they file bankruptcy. New York has established a court specifically for asbestos-related claims. Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP has extensive experience with these types of claims.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in New York City?

The executor or court-appointed personal representative can file wrongful death actions on behalf of the family. In the absence of a representative or refusal of a representative to file, the family can request that the court appoint one.

Wrongful Death Compensation

New York §5-4.3 allows families to claim the following damages subsequent to a wrongful death:

  • Monetary losses, such as lost income
  • Expenses related to the death, including medical and funeral expenses
  • Damages that could have been recovered by the deceased had they survived, including punitive damages and pain and suffering

How much time do I have to file a wrongful death claim?

Most wrongful death cases must be filed within two years, but this varies based on the type of case. Medical malpractice cases and cases stemming from the September 11 terrorist attacks have a statute of limitations of two and a half years.

A wrongful death attorney can advise you of the correct time frames for your specific case. It is important to retain counsel well ahead of the deadline to allow time to build a strong case.

Do I need an attorney to file my NYC wrongful death lawsuit?

The counsel of a qualified attorney will ensure your case is filed correctly and on time. Even a small mistake can result in your case being dismissed without you receiving any compensation.

Samuel Meirowitz and Daniel Wasserberg are nationally recognized lawyers who have been selected for inclusion in the prestigious Super Lawyers publication every year. Mr. Meirowitz has been named a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” and Mr. Wasserberg a “Top 100 Civil Litigator” by the National Trial Lawyers organization. They have won millions in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients.

If your family member has suffered a wrongful death, contact Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP today or call them at 866-446-9529 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About New York City Wrongful Death

Below are answers to common questions.

We offer a contingency arrangement, which means you do not pay unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

New York law only allows one wrongful death claim for each deceased individual.

All calls from the opposing party’s insurance company should be directed to your wrongful death attorney. Most importantly, never admit fault to the insurance company or anyone else, and never sign documents without your attorney present.

It can take several months to receive your compensation. Multiple factors go into this, including whether your case settles independently or goes to court and how strongly the other party contests your compensation. Most cases settle outside of court.

Damages recovered on behalf of the deceased, such as pain and suffering, are awarded to the estate of the deceased, which is then divided in accordance with the will or intestate law. Pecuniary damages will be awarded to the individual family members in accordance with the losses experienced.

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