New York Personal Injury Attorneys

New York City Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through; losing a loved one in an accident that was avoidable is even more heartbreaking. Every year, hundreds of New York residents and visitors lose their lives in preventable accidents or as a result of negligence.

These deaths lead to intense grief for their loved ones and, in cases where the deceased was the primary breadwinner for the family, extreme financial hardship. When these circumstances arise and family members are unsure what to do next, Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. is here to help.

If you’ve lost a loved one as a result of a preventable incident or due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our experienced team of wrongful death attorneys has fought diligently for the rights of people killed in preventable, negligent incidents and have won millions in financial compensation to help their families recover.

From start to finish, Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C.’s attorneys will settle your wrongful death lawsuit so that you and your family can focus on grieving, healing, and memorializing your loved one.

Wrongful Death Laws in New York State

Wrongful death laws vary from state to state. In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the prosecution will need to prove that the incident that resulted in the death meets the state of New York’s definition of wrongful death. The prosecution will have to prove that the defendant acted negligently, and that negligence led to the fatality.

Under the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Code, the prosecution will need to prove the existence of five elements for a death to be considered wrongful. The claimant in the lawsuit will have to prove:

  1. That a death occurred. This is as simple as providing a death certificate.
  2. That the death occurred as a result of the defendant’s wrongful conduct. This is a tricky process that requires experienced investigation by a seasoned law firm.
  3. That the death would have given rise to a cause of action that the deceased would have pursued if they had not died. This means that if the incident resulted in serious injury rather than death, the deceased would have had grounds to pursue a lawsuit themselves.
  4. That the deceased is survived by one or more persons who suffered a loss as a result of the death. This can be proven by the loved ones, family, and friends who are involved in the lawsuit.
  5. That the people suffering from the death have incurred damages that can be recovered by the estate. This can be shown by certain factors such as lost wages due to inability to work, medical expenses, or poor academic performance caused by the death.

The state of New York does not recognize wrongful death claims that involve a fetus dying before birth, even if it occurred as a result of negligence by someone else. A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the death.

In New York, it is the responsibility of the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit, usually named in the deceased’s will. A family member cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit if they are not the personal representative. However, the surviving family members are entitled to the compensation from a wrongful death settlement.

If you are unsure who the personal representative is or if one exists, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. today.

What Situations Can Result in Wrongful Death?

Thousands of accidents happen in New York every single year. Hundreds of these accidents will result in serious injuries and wrongful death. As common as these accidents are, there are severe cases, conditions, and forms of negligence that result in preventable death cases.

Common causes of wrongful death include:

Proving Negligence

When a claimant files a wrongful death lawsuit, a major key to winning their case is to prove that the at-fault party acted negligently and caused the death. Proving negligence is notoriously tricky for multiple forms of lawsuits, not just wrongful death lawsuits.

The exact circumstances of an incident aren’t always clear, which is why it’s important to hire a skilled wrongful death attorney to conduct a proper investigation into the incident.

To prove that the defendant acted negligently the prosecution will have to prove that these four elements are true:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. For example, a doctor would have a duty of care to a patient. A driver would have a duty of care to their passengers.
  2. The duty in question was breached. For example, a doctor providing the wrong medication to a patient would be considered a breach of duty. A driver getting behind the wheel while intoxicated would be another breach of duty.
  3. The actions of the defendant caused the death of the victim. For example, the wrong medication could have triggered an allergic reaction or overdose in a doctor’s patient. A driver crashing into a tree while drunk and causing a serious accident is another example of actions that could cause a death.
  4. The defendant’s actions actually resulted in the death of the victim. If the patient died from the overdose or allergic reaction or if the passenger died from the accident, then the defendant directly caused the death.

Proving negligence is not as straightforward as the examples given may seem to indicate. It requires detailed investigation and analysis by an experienced lawyer.

Possible Wrongful Death Damages

Each wrongful death case is unique. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the state of New York will award various damages to cover losses and expenses to the family of the deceased.

Possible damages that could be awarded from a wrongful death settlement include:

  • Medical expenses related to the deceased’s final injury or illness, if they did not die immediately.
  • Lost inheritance.
  • Pain suffered by the deceased related to the circumstances of their death.
  • The value of support and other services that the deceased provided to their family.
  • The deceased’s lost wages, if there was any period of time post-accident in which the deceased was living, but unable to work.
  • Funeral expenses.

However, the state of New York does not award pain and suffering damages to family members, even if the deceased was a child.

It requires a seasoned attorney to obtain optimal compensation for wrongful death cases. Not all damages caused by a wrongful death are eligible for financial compensation. An experienced lawyer can help you determine which ones you can claim and will fight for your right to receive the compensation you deserve.

Our New York City Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help

Proving that a death is wrongful in the eyes of the court requires a seasoned wrongful death attorney. At Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. we know how difficult, traumatic, and sad this experience can be. We will fight for your right to achieve justice for your family member along every step of the legal process.

From consultation to settlement, our lawyers will work with you to build a strong wrongful death claim and work to obtain maximum compensation from the courts. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that if you don’t receive a settlement, you owe nothing for our services.

Contact us today by filling out our online form or by calling our offices at (212) 732-9000. We offer free consultations at our New York City office and will gladly travel to your home or hospital room.