Many people think that, if a loved one has died because of the wrongful conduct or negligence of another party, a criminal case is the only avenue for justice. However, they may also be entitled to pursue civil damages in a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death lawsuit in New York can be brought by spouses, parents, children, siblings and first-generation grandchildren. The law requires that plaintiffs in any wrongful death case have undergone economic damage. The suit is intended to provide financial compensation for damages suffered by family members as a result of the death.
The damages awarded in a wrongful death claim can include those for medical costs, loss of earnings, lost benefits, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, loss of services provided by the decedent (such as cooking, household chores, care-giving), and loss of parental support.
While family members may not ask for damages related to grief or sorrow, some monetary award may be given by looking at the pain and suffering of the decedent, including understanding of impending death, extent of consciousness and severity of pain, and the length of time between injury and death.
How long does a wrongful death case take?
Legal cases are often lengthy and complicated. Wrongful death cases are no exception. There may be multiple motions and depositions involved. The cases may need to be investigated fully to ascertain the circumstances and events leading to the death. Investigations themselves take time.
At times, defendants will settle out of court once they learn that a suit is being brought in court. An out-of-court settlement cannot be relied on, however. While the case will be handled with all the dispatch possible, family members should not expect a resolution in a week or two. Wrongful death cases may take from several months to several years to complete.
Legal guidance for families in New York
Since 1952, Edelman, Krasin & Jaye has been providing residents of Long Island and the greater New York City metro area with effective legal representation. Speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer about your case free of charge by calling 800-469-7429.
- Marsh, Bill. “Putting a Price on the Priceless.” New York Times. September 9, 2007. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/weekinreview/09marsh.html
- Moore, Thomas A. and Matthew Gaier. “Itemized Damages in Wrongful Death Actions.” New York Law Journal. April 2, 2018. https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2018/04/02/itemized-damages-in-wrongful-death-actions/?slreturn=20180901131658