New York Wrongful Death Lawyer

Legally Reviewed By: Jud Waltman

When you’ve lost someone you love, no matter the circumstances of their passing, you and your family need time to grieve and heal. You may be facing not just emotional trauma but also significant financial difficulties. When death results from reckless, careless, or negligent actions on the part of another party, those actions merit accountability and justice.

A wrongful death is a death that occurred through negligence or misconduct on the part of another party. A New York wrongful death lawyer can help you pursue a case against that party, handling all of the details of your case.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow you to lawfully express your pain and pursue justice, holding those responsible accountable for their actions. At The Lanier Law Firm, we offer compassionate representation for families who have experienced this kind of loss. We’ll identify the person or persons who may be liable for the death of your loved one, filing multiple claims if needed. 

We seek compensation on your behalf to cover funeral expenses, any medical bills incurred after the accident, and the emotional distress you and your family suffered.

A wrongful death case can also ensure that the party or parties responsible don’t engage in reckless or negligent actions in the future. We seek precedent-setting verdicts and pursue punitive damages against negligent corporations and other organizations.

What is the definition of a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim is defined as a civil action against someone who can be held responsible for the death of another. These claims are not criminal matters, so the defendant may not face criminal charges, although the state or federal government may seek separate criminal charges against the individuals involved. Wrongful death suits are intended to financially compensate the surviving family members or other approved parties for the loss of their loved one.

Wrongful deaths can occur from a traffic accident, defective products, workplace accidents, or medical malpractice or treatment errors. If another party created dangerous conditions that led to your loved one’s accident, then they deserve to be held responsible.

a car flipped on its side after an accident

If Your Loved One Died Because of an Accident Caused by Someone Else, You May Be Eligible to Receive Compensation

In some cases, the other party involved in the accident, whether it’s another driver on the road, your loved one’s employer, a medical provider, or the manufacturer of a defective product, may claim they aren’t responsible because your loved one caused the accident. Determining the facts surrounding the case can help assign responsibility.

We also keep up to date on any changes to New York wrongful death laws and ensure that we file the correct documents on time and with supporting evidence. When you’ve lost your loved one because of someone else, you need a legal advocate on your side to help you seek justice.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death cases can be pursued any time that someone dies due to the negligence of another party. Typical categories of wrongful death cases include:

This is not a complete list of personal injury and wrongful death cases that can be pursued by a legal team. Call a wrongful death lawyer licensed in the state of New York to discuss the circumstances of your case.

How can a New York wrongful death lawyer help my case?

After an accident, the other party’s insurance company may make an offer to settle your case. They likely have teams of lawyers to protect the company from a lawsuit, and they’re interested in settling the case quietly for as little money as possible. Negotiating with insurance companies can be challenging to handle on your own, especially when you’re grieving the loss of your loved one.

Your wrongful death attorney represents you, your family, and your interests. We’re experienced in negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of our clients. We can ensure that your interests are protected and fight to ensure that you receive the full value of your claim. While no amount of money can replace your loved one, it can make things easier. 

Additionally, if a corporation was negligent or lacked oversight in developing a product or providing a service, then punitive damages may prevent them from making the same mistake twice. You deserve to know that your efforts could protect others from similar circumstances.

New York Wrongful Death Laws

In New York, not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In fact, only the deceased’s personal representative, the person handling their estate, can file a wrongful death claim. However, in practice, the deceased’s personal representative will file a lawsuit on behalf of the person’s immediate family, including the parents, spouse, or children.

Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Death Suit

Wrongful death cases have a statute of limitations — a law that describes a set amount of time for the deceased’s personal representative to file the claim. In New York, the statute of limitations to file is two years from the date of your loved one’s death.

The two-year period starts from the date the person died, not the date that the accident occurred. If they were in the hospital receiving treatment and later died, then your wrongful death case may include the medical bills from the treatment, too.

Comparative Negligence in New York Wrongful Death Cases

New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that both parties involved may share responsibility for the accident. Say, in an auto accident, the other driver was determined to have been 80% responsible for the accident, and your loved one was assigned 20% of the blame. Comparative negligence means that the at-fault party is only responsible for their assigned percentage of the fault.

If the total damages for the case were $100,000, and your loved one was deemed to have been responsible for 20% of the accident, then your claim will be reduced by 20%, and you’ll be awarded $80,000.

Your New York wrongful death lawyer can help ensure that the party responsible carries their share of the responsibility for the accident involving your loved one.

Pecuniary Loss Statute

New York wrongful death cases are different from other personal injury cases in that the state allows the plaintiff to ask for pecuniary damages in addition to other damages. Pecuniary damages are economic or property damages that may not have been incurred yet. They’re designed to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of economic benefits, which they could reasonably have expected to receive had the accident or incident not occurred.

In a wrongful death case, pecuniary damages can include loss of economic support from the person who died, including monetary categories like:

  • Lost wages and earnings
  • Loss of pension and retirement contributions
  • Loss of associated work benefits
  • Loss of inheritance

Under New York law, these damages are considered “fair and just compensation for the pecuniary injuries resulting from the decedent’s death to the persons for whose benefit the action is brought.” It’s up to your personal injury attorney to place a value on the earning potential of your deceased loved one.


What kind of compensation could I be awarded in a wrongful death case?

Compensation in a wrongful death case can include funeral costs, any medical bills from treating your loved one after the accident, and any applicable property damage. For example, if your car was damaged in a fatal accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your vehicle damage. 

Other damages include loss of economic support (pecuniary losses) and compensation for loss of companionship. The other party may also be given punitive damages, which is a monetary penalty for negligence.

Will I be required to court in a wrongful death case?

Often, your New York wrongful death lawyer may be able to reach an agreement with the other party’s insurance company, either through negotiation or mediation. However, if an agreement can’t be reached, we’ll represent you in a court of law.

Will I pay taxes on a wrongful death settlement?

According to the IRS, damages from a wrongful death are tax-exempt under IRS Publication 4345. However, if the damages bring the amount of the deceased’s estate over the statutory exemption, then they may be subject to an inheritance tax. Remember, the estate’s personal representative is legally the one that files the wrongful death case.

Get Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case with Legal Representation

If you’ve lost a spouse, parent, or child in an accident caused by someone else or through the negligent or reckless actions of another party, then you may be able to file a wrongful death suit for compensation. Proving a wrongful death case can be complicated, so you need a thorough, dedicated New York wrongful death lawyer to help. Call The Lanier Law Firm today to speak with a lawyer about your wrongful death case and learn about your options for seeking compensation from the responsible parties.

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