Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in the State of New York?

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in the State of New York?

The sudden loss of a loved one is a momentous and tragic event that no one ever wants to experience in their lifetime.  When that death is the result of someone else’s negligence, also known as “wrongful death”, it is your right to file a lawsuit against that person or business and make them accountable for financial, physical, and emotional losses you’re endured as a result of their neglect.  There are a number of different circumstances in New York State that can lead to a wrongful death suit such as a vehicle accident, defective products, medical malpractice, or a death that may have resulted from a slip-and-fall accident. 

Under New York State law, only certain people related or connected to the victim are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  In addition to the relation of the parties involved, other items must be must be proven in court by the plaintiff in order to secure damages.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Binghamton NY

In accordance with New York State Law, the following individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim:

  • The victim’s parents
  • The victim’s spouse
  • The victim’s child
  • The victim’s court appointed or personal estate representative

If the victim doesn’t have any of the above familial or court-appointed relationships, there are rare cases in which other blood relatives such as a sibling may present the claim.  These cases are very out of the ordinary and an experienced wrongful death attorney should be consulted prior to making the claim.

Another important factor in making a wrongful death claim in New York is that you have a two year statute of limitations on these types of cases.  You must file your lawsuit within two years of the date the victim was declared deceased.

How is a Wrongful Claim Proven in New York State?

After the lawsuit has been officially filed, an attorney and their client need to quickly get to work building their case.  There are several factors that must be proven in court in order for a successful outcome.  The main factor is proving beyond reasonable doubt the defendant acted in a negligent way which directly resulted in the persons death.  Examples of this type of negligence include:

  1. A tractor trailer driver who was illegally passing another vehicle or texting on their mobile device which led to the death of an individual in another vehicle. 
  2. A landlord who knew they had faulty wiring in their building and neglected to fix it which resulted in a fire related death of a tenant. 

The plaintiff must present to the court irrefutable evidence that negligence played a part.  This can be achieved by presenting experts to provide testimony, past records which document a history of neglect, and much more.

How are Wrongful Death Damages Awarded in New York State?

The initial claim will need to list all survivors or beneficiaries who would receive any awards.  In  a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Binghamton, these awards include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Conscious pain and suffering resulting from the death

A common misconception is that survivors can be compensated for the grief they’re enduring, however, if the descendant is leaving behind children, a plaintiff may be able to secure damages for the future loss of guidance and education.

If you believe you have a wrongful death lawsuit in New York State and you’re within the two year statute of limitations, contact Binghamton attorney Tom Schimmerling for a free consultation to find out if you’re owed compensation for your losses.