Wrongful death is a form of negligence and personal injury claim that a family can file. A negligent party will be liable for these damages if the claim includes information that shows they breached a duty that was owed to the deceased accident victim. Further, that this breach was the direct and proximate cause of the death, and that the family members suffered damages as a result of it 

Since 1975, the New York and New Jersey wrongful death lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. have represented aggrieved family members in wrongful death lawsuits. We understand the emotional upheaval and challenges that are the inevitable result of a family member’s accidental death. We fight tirelessly to recover compensation for their loss when another party’s negligence causes a fatality. 

What information is needed to prove that someone has the right to file a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by a deceased party’s immediate family members. This includes:

  • an accident victim’s surviving spouse
  • the victim’s adult child
  • if the victim was a minor child, their parents, or legal guardians
  • other family members, such as a sibling, grandparent, or uncle or aunt if the victim had no immediate family members
  • under certain circumstances, domestic partners and other persons who can establish financial dependence or reliance on the accident victim
  • if the victim had a will, the executor or personal representative

In every case, the wrongful death claim should include information about the relationship between the party making the claim and the accident victim.

What information about damages should be included in a wrongful death claim?

These damages are intended to compensate a family for the financial burdens it faces following a fatality. This includes funeral costs and other associated expenses that the family might incur. The greater part of wrongful death damages will include compensation to replace the salary or wages that the accident victim would have earned– and the value of any parental or family guidance that they might have otherwise provided.

A wrongful death lawyer’s skill and experience in establishing these damages is often a significant factor in recovering the largest available award. We will make sure that this claim includes information such as the victim’s age, their general health and life expectancy, the nature of the interactions that they had with family members, and any expenses that a family might incur in procuring replacements for those services.

Does a wrongful death claim include information about the cause of a victim’s death?

An aggrieved family member who files a wrongful death lawsuit must show that the negligent party’s conduct was the cause of the accident victim’s death. This can be a relatively straightforward matter, for example, when the victim dies in a car crash or some other serious accident. In other matters, including medical malpractice cases, a defendant might argue that the victim’s death resulted from underlying health issues.

Wrongful death lawyers will generally rely on autopsy reports or coroners’ inquests to establish the cause of death. If no autopsy was conducted, the claim would then include other objective information that connects the negligent party’s conduct with the fatality.

How long do I have to file?

Both New York and New Jersey require family members to file wrongful death lawsuits within two years. This claim should include both the date of the accident and the date of the fatality to verify the timely filing of a claim.

This will be a more critical issue when a more extended period elapses between the accident and the victim’s death. A negligent party will use that period to argue that the accident was not the direct and proximate cause of death. Under these circumstances, your attorney will likely include more information in the claim to relate the death to the accident. 

Contact us for a free consultation

The personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman represent the families of accident and injury victims in Rockland and Bergen counties in wrongful death claims. Please see our website or call our New York or New Jersey offices for more information about what you will need to know to file a wrongful death claim.