The opioid epidemic in America has touched the lives of countless people. With so many people hurting as a result of losing someone they love to opioids, it’s easy to see why so many people want pharmaceutical companies to pay – and that is starting to happen.
A Landmark Settlement for Marketer’s Role in Opioid Epidemic
In a landmark settlement, McKinsey & Company, a marketing firm that worked with drugmakers, including Purdue Pharma the maker of OxyContin, agree to pay almost $600 million dollars for the role it played in helping to increase opioid sales.
They recognize that the firm’s marketing advice to pharmaceutical companies for promoting the product helped fuel America’s opioid crisis, which has lead to countless deaths.
When it comes to holding those responsible to account, you may be wondering about wrongful death suits in New York.
If that’s an avenue you’re considering, here’s what you need to know about wrongful death suits in the state to understand if you have a basis for which to sue for the death of your loved one to opioid addiction.
What Is Wrongful Death in New York?
There are elements that must be proven for someone to establish a claim as wrongful death in the state of New York. In simplest terms, wrongful death is one that is caused by negligence or wrongful conduct of another.
Wrongful death suits also require the person bringing the suit to show that the person harmed could have recovered damages for themselves if they hadn’t died as a result of the negligence or wrongful conduct and that the survivors have specific damages due to the death.
What Must Be Proven?
Once you’ve established that you can file a wrongful death suit in New York and establish a claim, in court you will need to prove several elements before you can be awarded damages. These are a duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and actual damages.
We talked about proving actual damages above, and below, you can learn about each of the other three elements in a wrongful death claim.
Duty of Care
For those seeking damages for a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one, you must prove that the person or entity you believe is responsible for your loved one’s death had a duty of care to them. In other words, they must have provided a standard of care that was reasonable while performing any activity that could potentially harm others.
Breach of Duty
Once you have established that there was a duty of care owed to the deceased, you must then demonstrate that the duty of care was breached and that the responsible party failed to provide reasonable care in some fashion that resulted in the death of a loved one.
The final element you must prove in court is causation. This isn’t done simply by showing there was a breach in the duty of care, but must also be shown that a particular action was taken by those being sued directly caused the wrongful death.
In wrongful death cases, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff who is filing the case. A preponderance of the evidence must be used to establish the elements of negligence in order for the case to be successful.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
If you think there is a case to be made for wrongful death in New York, you must also be among the individuals allowed to file such as the case in New York. You can file a lawsuit you are related to the decedent as:
- A spouse
- A child
- A parent
- A personal representative of the estate
A person has two years in New York to file a wrongful death suit.
Damages That Can Be Sought
In New York, wrongful death case damages hinge on the specific facts of each case. In general, the types of damages that are awarded in wrongful death suits include:
- Expenses related to the funeral and burial
- Reasonable nursing, medical, or other healthcare expenses related to the injury or illness that claimed the life of the deceased
- Lost wages and benefits of the deceased
- The value of the services and support the deceased provided to their family
- The value of parental care, guidance, and nurturing to any surviving children
- Pain and suffering experienced by the person who died due to the illness or injury
In New York, surviving family members may not sue to recover damages for their own pain and suffering, even if they are a child.
The opioid epidemic continues to rage across the country and impact the lives of many, including New Yorkers. If someone you love has died due to an opioid overdose or due to their addiction, then there may be legal remedies for you.
Know what is needed to bring a wrongful death suit, who can bring one, and what must be proven to understand if you have a case and then do what you can to seek justice for the loss of your loved one.