Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful Death Attorney

When someone dies because of the negligence or intentional act of another, a wrongful death claim allows surviving family members to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In a wrongful death claim, these family members can seek compensation for damages that the loved one is now unable to claim. 

If your loved one has been killed in an accident or by an intentional action, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault person. A wrongful death claim is not meant to compensate for the loss of your loved one. Nothing can do that. But a wrongful death lawsuit can recover financial compensation that can help ease the financial burden of that loss. At the Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., our wrongful death attorneys can help. Throughout our careers, we have assisted and guided victims and their families so that they could get the help they needed after a serious incident.  For a free, no-obligation consultation with a top-rated NYC civil rights lawyer, call now: (212) 843-0907.

Wrongful Death in Police Custody

There are times when law enforcement officers use excessive force during an arrest or when a prisoner is abused in custody. Some individuals in custody have become ill or injured and have been deliberately denied care or were met with indifference to their needs. When an individual has been detained and the officers involved have behaved in a way that results in their injury and death, the family may be entitled to seek a wrongful death claim and get compensated for their loss. 

Police misconduct can be reckless and negligent or intentional. Either way, it breaches an officer’s duty to uphold the law. Unfortunately, police overreach or deliberate indifference can result in serious injuries and, sometimes, even avoidable fatalities. In these cases, family members may choose to file a wrongful death claim against the law enforcement agency or even the individual officer. 

Those who are in police custody or are incarcerated still have important civil rights under the law. If your loved one has died in police custody due to misconduct or indifference to their needs, you should get the advice of a skilled attorney who will help you understand if you can sue the jail or prison. The experienced wrongful death attorneys at the Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C. can help.

What is the Purpose for a Wrongful Death Claim?

When someone is killed in an accident or another fatal tragedy, their family is left to pick up the pieces. They may soon discover that they don’t have the money to bury their loved one or pay for outstanding bills left in the aftermath.

The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the surviving family members for financial losses they will experience as a result of the victim’s untimely death. Although no amount of money can ever take the place of a beloved family member, the damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit can ease the unavoidable financial burden that arises after such a tragic death. Compensation can also provide for the family in the coming years, especially if the victim was the household’s main source of income.

Wrongful Death and Pecuniary Losses

A wrongful death claim is governed by New York Estates Powers and Trust Law, EPTL, Section 5-4.1, which is a pecuniary loss statute. Pecuniary losses, as they apply to a wrongful death claim, are those financial losses that family members experience as the result of the death of their loved one. 

A wrongful death claim is a civil law claim which the surviving family members can bring against the at-fault party. Similar to a personal injury claim, the family can claim the benefits that the deceased family member could have received had they been alive. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family must prove financial losses as well as the negligence or intentional action of the other party in causing the death of their loved one. 

Financial losses can include the financial expenses left to the family after the death of a loved one. A deceased loved one often leaves a dependent spouse and children, and so the financial losses can also include the loss of the support by that family member. In addition to the loss of earnings, loss of parental services, and parental care and guidance may also be claimed. An experienced wrongful death attorney will help establish and prove the pecuniary costs as they apply to an individual’s claim.

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What Kinds of Accidents or Incidents Can Result in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In New York, incidents that are commonly considered in wrongful death claims include:

It is important to be mindful that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in New York is two years from the date of the decedent’s death.

What Family Members Are Entitled to Claim for Wrongful Death Benefits?

When someone has died due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, only certain family members can lawfully pursue a wrongful death claim. In the state of New York, these will include:

Depending on the situation, there are cases when other family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim. While the state of New York gives priority to certain family members, there are others who may be able to receive an award if there is not a surviving spouse, children, or parents. Siblings, cousins, and other extended family members may have the right to a wrongful death claim depending on the circumstances.

What Do Wrongful Death Benefits Compensate For?

A wrongful death claim is intended to compensate family members for their losses after the death of a loved one. These damages include ones that the deceased suffered before their death, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering and the ones the family suffered after the death of their loved one. These damages will include:

How Compensation is Calculated in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

While economic damages are easier to quantify for purposes of a wrongful death claim, there are many other damages that are far more difficult to place a monetary value on. When calculating damages for a wrongful death claim, many things will need to be closely considered, such as:

Damages in a wrongful death claim cannot be simply estimated but must be supported by evidence. The court will consider evidence that is offered by the family, a forensic accountant or other financial experts in order to determine fair compensation in  a wrongful death determination. Wrongful death compensation in New York can be signficant.

In most cases, wrongful death settlements are paid by the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. If they do not have ample coverage, the at-fault party will be personally liable for any judgements awarded to the family.

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Can a Family Member Claim For Their Own Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering refers to physical or emotional injuries that someone suffers as the result of an accident or incident. These are usually calculated based on a percentage of the economic damages in the claim. 

While family members cannot pursue their own claims for pain and suffering after the death of a loved one, they can recover pain and suffering benefits on behalf of that person. In a personal injury claim, the decedent would have had the ability to bring a claim for their own pain and suffering. In New York, these claims transfer to the loved one’s estate, and a claim can be brought by the family or representative of the estate. These can become part of a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.

How is Negligence Established in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In the case of a wrongful death claim, as in a personal injury claim, the matter of negligence needs to be established in order to be considered for compensation. The family member or representative of the estate must prove the key elements of negligence, which include:

Negligence can be complicated to prove in any civil claim. In a wrongful death claim, it will require a thorough investigation of the incident, including witness interviews, accident reconstruction, surveillance, medical records, financial records, and the calculation of damages based on this information. It is essential to have the assistance of an experienced New York wrongful death attorney to ensure that a claim is properly supported.

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Getting Legal Assistance From A NYC Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have lost a loved one because of another’s negligence, carelessness, or the intentional acts of another party, getting the guidance of an experienced wrongful death attorney is critical to your success in a claim. At the Law Office of David S. Leigh, P.C., our New York wrongful death attorneys have dedicated our careers to those who have been victimized by others. Contact us for a free consultation, and to learn about your rights under the law.

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