Wrongful Death Lawyer Rockland County, NY
Our Rockland County, NY wrongful death lawyer understands that a wrongful death is always a sudden, shocking affair for loved ones. Regardless of the cause, surviving family members need to wind down the affairs of their beloved and consider their legal rights while in mourning. Concepts of “liability” and “compensation” seem trivial next to a tragic loss. However, they need to be addressed, as the future of a family may rest on the result of a legal action.
If you have recently lost a loved one in Rockland County, the wrongful death attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman wish to extend our deepest condolences and invite you to call our office for free legal evaluation. We will listen to your story, carefully analyze your claim for compensation, and discuss various go-forward options. Our dedicated team of attorneys and staff can advise on these consequential matters with care and compassion. We want to help you through this difficult time.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal concept that arises when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or entity. In New York, a death is considered wrongful if the victim would have been eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit had they survived.
Generally, wrongful death is a civil cause of action that is brought by the deceased person’s surviving family members or their estate. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and to compensate the deceased person’s family for the losses they have suffered as a result of the death.
Wrongful death claims may arise from a variety of circumstances, including medical malpractice, automobile accidents, workplace accidents, and criminal acts.
In order to prove a wrongful death claim, your Rockland County wrongful death lawyer will work to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased person, that the defendant breached that duty of care, and that the breach caused the person’s death.
Who May File Litigation?
While wrongful death lawsuits share some similarities with personal injury cases, one of the primary differences is that the injured individual is deceased, meaning they are incapable of taking the case to court. As a result, someone else must proceed with the case on their behalf.
To be eligible to file a wrongful death suit in New York on behalf of your loved one, you must have one of the following relationships with the victim:
- The victim’s personal representative or executor
- The victim’s spouse
- The victim’s child
- The victim’s parent
Typically, the case will be brought forth by an executor. Executors have a legal duty to follow the instructions set forth in the victim’s will and act in the victim’s best interest. The victim’s executor is likely named in their will. In many cases, this is a trusted family member, though it may also be an attorney, accountant, or other professional.
In some circumstances, such as those where the victim has no surviving spouse, child, or parent, another blood relative (such as a sibling) may be permitted to bring the case forth. In most cases, this person must have been named the victim’s executor, either by the deceased’s will or court order.
Wrongful Death Compensation
If the court rules in the victim’s favor, the compensation they receive will be distributed to their estate or surviving family members. While the size of the compensatory package will vary depending on the facts of the case, plaintiffs may be entitled to compensation for damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of companionship
Damages are divided into two primary categories: economic and non-economic. In New York, the only damages wrongful death plaintiffs are eligible to receive are economic damages. These are quantifiable costs that were incurred as a direct result of the defendant’s actions, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
Similarly, the victim’s family’s pain and suffering will not be considered when determining the compensation for New York wrongful death cases. Only the deceased’s pain and suffering will be considered. Still, if the deceased leaves behind children, they may be eligible to receive compensation for lost guidance and education that the victim would have provided had they survived.
If the deceased person was employed, the estate may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages. This compensation may include the wages the victim would have earned had they continued working until retirement as well as any associated benefits. This type of compensation is speculative, so your attorney may recruit the aid of a forensic accountant to strengthen your claim. In some cases, potential pay increases or promotions may be factored into the compensation package.
Once the court settles on a compensation package, it will be distributed based on the will of the deceased or, in the absence of a will, according to New York state law.
How Can Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Help You?
If you believe you and your family may be eligible to receive compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one, it is vital to act quickly. For your wrongful death claim to be valid in New York, you typically must file your claim within two years of the date of the deceased’s death. Contact Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman today to speak with one of our experienced Rockland County wrongful death attorneys about your claim.
Our injury lawyers will review the facts of your case, guide you through the legal process, and work tirelessly to earn you the maximum possible compensation package.