Ramarley Graham, the black teen fatally shot by the NYPD in 2012, is in the news again. This time, there is controversy over the resignation of the cop who shot him. The family believes more action should have been taken against the cop. Up to now, the only recourse the family of Ramarley Graham received was a $3.9 million wrongful death settlement. So, what is wrongful death and how does one successfully file a suit?
Wrongful death refers to when someone dies as a result of an act of negligence or recklessness. Obviously, a deceased person cannot file a suit. Usually, a family member can file a wrongful death suit. However, in New York State, only the personal representative in charge of the deceased’s estate/financial affairs can file a suit. In New York, the statue of limitations is two years. This means that a wrongful death suit cannot be filed more than two years after the death. Furthermore, there are five elements that must be proven in court according to New York State Estates, Powers, and Trusts codes:
- A death has occurred;
- The wrongful conduct of the defendant caused the death;
- If the deceased had not died, he or she could have pursued the negligence in court;
- Survival by one or more persons who have suffered a loss as the result of the death; and
- Damages the estate can recover
Steps to Take
If you are a personal representative to a deceased one’s estate, there are a few important elements to know about filin a case. The first step is to show that the plaintiff owed the deceased a duty of care. For example, if you are filing a case against a doctor, you must show the reasonably expected care that the doctored owed the deceased. The second step is to show that there was a breach of this duty. Third, you must show that act of negligence caused this breach. An example of this is someone who was drunk on the job and killed your loved one. Fourth, show that the act of negligence was the cause of the death. You have to prepared to discredit any alternative explanations for the death. This is why you should hire an attorney, because depending on your case, there may be different avenues to gathering evidence. If a car accident caused a wrongful death, you may want to have traffic camera footage as evidence. Finally, you want to show that the wrongful death caused damage to a descendant. In New York State, such damages can be:
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Reasonable medical, nursing, and other health care expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness;
- Wages and benefits lost between the deceased person’s final injury or illness and his or her death;
- The value of support and services the deceased provided to family members;
- The value of parental nurturing, care, and guidance to surviving children;
- Lost inheritance suffered by surviving children;
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased due to the final injury or illness;
- 9% interest on the damages award, calculated from the date of death
Filing a Suit Against the NYPD
In some cases, the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit is the NYPD. Since the NYPD is a government agency, you have 90 days from the incident to file a notice of claim.
Sound Legal Counsel
Defendants in a wrongful death case face much sorrow and grief. We can provide experienced injury attorneys with sound legal counsel and representation that you need in this tragic situation. To arrange for a free evaluation of your case, fill out a convenient online form.