A wrongful death action is a claim against a party that caused the death of another individual. Acts of negligence or intentional wrongdoing may result in wrongful death. Nonetheless, the common element is that a party’s actions led to the death of a person.
Each year, thousands of people are killed in traffic accidents. Since 2007, 2020 was the deadliest year for traffic fatalities, according to the NHTSA. The crash data indicates that there will be 38,824 traffic-related fatalities in 2020.
Claims for wrongful death may result from accidents involving:
- Passenger car accidents
- Pickup trucks
- Commercial vehicles (semi-trucks)
- Delivery vans
- Scooters and motorbikes
Sadly, the majority of traffic fatalities are preventable. Negligence and driver error are the leading causes of traffic-related fatalities.
The following are examples of causes of fatal accidents in New York City:
- Inattentional driving
- Contravening traffic laws
- Drunk driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Rage on the road and aggressive driving
A person who causes a traffic fatality could face criminal charges and be sued for wrongful death. In civil court, the burden of proving wrongful death is lower than in criminal court, where proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt. The civil proceeding is independent of the criminal proceeding.
Premises Liability Claims
The duty of care owed by property owners to those who enter their property is to provide safe premises. The duty of care applies to homeowners, business owners, landlords, government agencies, and other property owners.
If your loved one dies due to an accident on the property of another party, you may have a claim for wrongful death against the property owner.
Common examples of premises liability cases that could result in a lawsuit for wrongful death include, but are not limited to:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog attacks and animal assaults
- Electrical accidents
- a case of food poisoning
- exposition to toxic substances
- Swimming pool mishaps
- Building implosion
- Explosions and fires have occurred.
- Occupational accidents
- Construction accidents
- Elevator accidents
For a property owner to be held liable for your family member’s death, he or she need not have intended for it to occur. However, if the property owner’s negligence caused the death of your family member, you may recover compensation for the resulting damages.
Unfortunately, physicians cannot save everyone. People die even with the best medical care. However, when medical negligence and errors result in a patient’s death, a wrongful death action may be filed.
Examples of medical negligence that could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Not monitoring a patient
- Surgical errors
- Labor and birth injuries
- Failure to diagnosis
- Failing to order diagnostic tests
- Not reviewing a patient’s medical history
- Performing procedures and treatments without informed consent
- Medication errors
- Misdiagnosis of a condition
- Failure to consult with or refer a patient to a specialist
- Anesthesia mistakes
Intentional wrongdoing may also result in a lawsuit for wrongful death.
A doctor performing a medical procedure under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one example. Another example would be refusing to perform a necessary life-saving medical procedure because the patient cannot afford to pay for it.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York City?
Most states allow surviving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is required by New York law to file the wrongful death action.
Generally, an individual’s will nominates a person to serve as a personal representative. If the deceased did not leave a will, the state will appoint an administrator of the estate.
What Damages Can a Family Receive in an NYC Wrongful Death Action?
New York’s wrongful death statutes allow surviving relatives to recover damages for:
- Funeral, cremation, and burial costs
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earnings contributed by the deceased
- Parental care
- Domestic services
Damages compensate family members for their financial losses. Economic damages are monetary losses incurred by the family as a result of the demise of a loved one.
Unfortunately, New York does not permit family members to receive non-economic damages compensation. Non-economic damages include emotional distress, companionship loss, and loss of consortium.
In addition to a wrongful death action, a survivorship action may be possible. A survivorship action seeks damages that the decedent would have been able to recover had he or she survived.
For instance, the estate may recover costs incurred from the time of the injury until the decedent’s death. If the deceased had cognitive awareness of their suffering following the injury, the estate could also recover damages for pain and suffering.
A New York City wrongful death attorney will review your case and advise you on how to hold the person responsible for the death of your loved one accountable for their actions.
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.