No matter the circumstances, losing a loved one is difficult. Families deserve time to grieve for those who are gone. But if the death of someone you loved involved the reckless or negligent behavior of another, you also deserve justice.
There are many things that can cause wrongful death in New York. Defective products, accidents at work, medical errors, and car wrecks are just a few. If you lost someone you love because another person acted in a negligent way, then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state. However, the way New York approaches wrongful death may be changing, so read on to find out more about this important topic.
What Is Wrongful Death in New York?
In the state of New York, death is considered wrongful if it’s caused by an act of neglect, default, or an act in which, if the victim had lived, they could have pursued damages with a personal injury lawsuit.
Wrongful death differs from other personal injury lawsuits in that the person who was injured is unable to bring a claim, so another party must do so on their behalf. In New York, a personal representative of the estate of the deceased must bring the lawsuit – family members cannot bring these types of lawsuits, although that may soon be changing.
What Types of Events Are Wrongful?
Just as in other personal injury cases, there are many actions that can qualify as a wrongful act and allow a representative to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes:
- Incidents based on negligence, such as car accidents
- Intentional acts, such as crimes that resulted in a person’s death
- Medical malpractice
In New York, it’s important to note that the law will not recognize a wrongful death suit for a fetus who was not yet born, even if the death of the fetus is caused by another party’s wrongful act.
How the Law is Expected to Change
The Grieving Families Act, also known as Senate Bill S74A, is meant to amend the state laws surrounding trust, powers, and estates in relation to damages that are awarded from wrongful death lawsuits. This bill would work to allow families of those killed in wrongful death situations to recover compensation for their own suffering and emotional anguish, which is not something the law in the state currently covers.
Once the Governor signs the bill into law, families of the deceased will be able to recover non-economic damages in wrongful death lawsuits.
What Damages Can Currently Be Sued For?
Right now in New York, the claimed losses or damages in a wrongful death case are awarded to the estate or to survivors. In most cases, these are the types of losses that the court will award damages for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Expenses related to the medical care received by the deceased before they died in relation to the incident
- Financial support that the deceased would have offered their family in the future
- The value of the services and support they would have provided to their family
- The value of the parental guidance, care, and nurturing they would have offered their surviving children
- Any lost inheritance
- Pain and suffering the deceased were exposed to before their death
When wrongful death happens, you have options. And those options are rapidly expanding under the law in the state of New York.