A tragic jet ski accident results in the death of one man and the injury of another.
Tragic Accidents Can Lead to Wrongful Death Claims
In many cases of wrongful death, the cause of death is a preventable accident. A death need not be intentional for a wrongful death claim to be filed. A fatality may result from an accident or a recreational activity, such as jet skiing.
Among the circumstances that may result in a wrongful death lawsuit are, but are not limited to:
- Automobile, truck, and motorcycle collisions
- Bicycle collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Recreational pursuits
- Dog attacks
- Swimming pool mishaps
- Maritime accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- playground mishaps
- Falls and slips
- Occupational accidents
Almost any accident could result in a wrongful death claim if another party’s actions caused the death of a victim.
New York’s wrongful death laws do not require an intentional act for a death to be considered “wrongful.” A death can be considered “wrongful” if the following criteria are met:
- The death was caused by reckless or negligent conduct.
- Had the individual survived, he or she could have pursued legal action for damages.
- The deceased is survived by at least one person who suffered economic losses as a result of his or her death.
- There are damages the estate of the deceased can recover.
A claim for wrongful death cannot bring a loved one back, but it can help family members cope with the financial losses caused by the sudden loss of a loved one. Who may file a claim for wrongful death and how long they have to do so are governed by specific rules in New York.
Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
New York’s procedure for wrongful death lawsuits differs from that of other states. In many states, family members may file a lawsuit for wrongful death. In New York, however, the personal representative of the probate estate has the authority to file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
The estate holds the money received from the wrongful death lawsuit in trust. The funds are then distributed to the heirs by the estate. Typically, the surviving spouse and children receive compensation from a wrongful death claim, as they are financially dependent on the deceased.
In the absence of a surviving spouse or children, the decedent’s parents or other relatives may recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The damages recovered through a lawsuit for wrongful death include:
- Medical costs incurred by the decedent between the date of the accident and the date of his or her death
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income the deceased would have earned had he or she continued to live
- Lack of parental guidance, companionship, affection, and love
- Loss of a bequest
- Pain and suffering the deceased may have endured from the date of the injury until the time of death.
In certain instances, the family may also be eligible for punitive damages. Punitive damages are reserved for cases involving intentional or grossly negligent acts that result in death.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Have Deadlines
In New York, there are filing deadlines for wrongful death lawsuits. In most instances, the deadline or statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death.
If a claim is not filed within two years, the family forfeits the right to seek compensation for damages. Claims of wrongful death can be complicated. It can be time-consuming to investigate the cause of death and collect evidence demonstrating that the death was “wrongful.”
Consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible following the loss of a loved one. A lawyer can guide you through the steps of filing a wrongful death lawsuit, such as establishing the probate estate and appointing a personal representative.
Because dealing with the death of a loved one can be overwhelming, having an attorney handle legal matters can give the family time to grieve while protecting their right to seek justice for their loved one and for themselves.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.