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Long Island Wrongful Death Attorney

Justice courthouseNew York injury attorneys helping families in Nassau & Suffolk counties who have tragically lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.

The Long Island personal injury lawyers of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye know all too well that compensation recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit does little to ease the grief of families mourning the death of a loved one. On the other hand, the financial gain can at the very least serve a much needed practical function as family members struggle to rebuild their lives.

Wrongful death lawsuits are filed when a person is killed by the wrongful conduct or negligence of others. An action may be brought about for intentional or unintentional acts resulting in death and are designed to provide financial compensation to the surviving family members who have suffered as a result. Statutes vary by state to define who may sue and what limits may be placed on awards, if any.

New York wrongful death laws

New York law sets forth very specific elements plaintiffs need to satisfy in order to receive wrongful death compensation.

Wrongful death lawsuits must contain the following components:

  • A death
  • Defendant’s wrongful conduct
  • Distributees who sustained a pecuniary loss, and
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the deceased

Claims may be filed by immediate family members, including: spouses, parents, children, siblings and first-generation grandchildren. Distributees must have suffered some sort of economic damage as a result of their loved one’s death.

The statute of limitation establishes how long family members have to file. In New York, families have two years from the date of death – unless there is a criminal prosecution of the act, in which case the statute of limitation is one year from the end of prosecution.

Compensation may be sought to cover: funeral expenses, medical costs, loss of earnings, lost benefits, loss of consortium, loss of services (cooking, household chores, care-giving), and loss of parental support.

Future damages are based on current dollar amounts that are not adjusted for inflation. Unlike personal injury claims, there is no “recovery for grief, heartache or sorrow” in a New York wrongful death lawsuit, but in some cases, an award for “conscious pain and suffering” may be determined by looking at the understanding of impending death, the amount of time between injury and death, the extent of consciousness and the severity of pain.

Punitive awards may be levied against the defendant if the act leading to death was intentional. Finally, damages for the pecuniary loss to an infant are calculated from the time of death up until the child reaches age 21.

Important aspects of filing a claim

Consulting with a Long Island wrongful death lawyer is important because a lawsuit may not be warranted for every case. For instance, you are not likely to recover much money if the decedent was an elderly person with minimal future earnings or a child with unclear future earnings.

Children whose parents did not financially support them while living will have a hard time recovering any damages in court. Monetary damages for emotional distress are generally not awarded to plaintiffs, unless the plaintiff witnessed the death firsthand. Instead, personal injury claims or criminal homicide prosecutions may provide greater compensation for damages suffered.

Filing a wrongful death claim

It can take anywhere from three months to several years to resolve a wrongful death claim in New York State. These cases are some of the most complex to litigate and are often clouded with strong emotions.

Generally speaking, cases go through the following stages:

  1. A personal representative is designated for the deceased. Survivors are identified. All medical bills and financial obligations related to the death are calculated.
  2. A claim for damaged is filed, requesting a monetary settlement. If there is no settlement offer, a formal legal complaint is drafted and served to the defendant.
  3. The discovery process begins, where each side requests statements, documents and admissions to support their claim or refute opposing arguments. Witnesses are assembled and the facts of the case are detailed.
  4. Mediation conferences are held several times prior to trial to see if both parties can come to a resolution before the trial date.
  5. If no resolution is reached, the trial begins and a verdict is reached.
  6. Either side has the ability to appeal the outcome.

Long Island wrongful death attorneys

Serving Nassau and Suffolk County, as well as all five boroughs of NYC, Edelman, Krasin & Jaye has been helping victims of personal injury, including wrongful death, since 1952. We recently secured a $1.4 million verdict when a jury determined that a 37-year-old Queens County worker’s death by electrocution was the result of unsafe workplace conditions.

Of course, each lawsuit warrants its own set of expectations depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the case. At the same time, each case deserves the same level of attention to procure the best possible result for the sake of the surviving family as well as the memory of the one lost.

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye offer free, no-obligation consultations to discuss your potential case. Wrongful death claims call for swift action, so please call us toll free at 800-469-7429 to get started right away.

  1. Rawle & Henderson Resources – New York State Law Summary 2013 http://www.rawle.com/reports-articles/new-york-state-law-summary
  2. The CPA Journal – Economic Damages Under New York Wrongful Death Statute http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2006/606/essentials/p50.htm
  3. NY Times – Putting A Price On The Priceless: One Life http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/weekinreview/09marsh.html