Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action? What Damages Are Available?

The accidental or wrongful death of a loved one changes everything in an instant. While there’s nothing you can do to bring your loved one back, you have the right to hold the wrongdoer accountable for your losses.

What Is Wrongful Death in New York?

Wrongful Death in NYWrongful death claims are generally based on state laws. In New York, a “wrongful” death is any fatality caused by either a wrongful act, by neglect or by default. It may be based on carelessness or negligence, but it can also be the result of an intentional act, including a criminal violation.

Who Has the Legal Right to File a Wrongful Death Action in New York?

In New York, unlike most other states, a wrongful death lawsuit is essentially considered to be the right of the deceased. Accordingly, it is typically the personal representative of the decedent’s estate who has standing to file a wrongful death action. A family member serving as personal representative may file the claim but will be doing so on behalf of the estate only.

What Types of Compensation May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?

The estate may seek compensation for a wide range of losses, including:

  • Any financial support that the decedent would have provided to his or her family
  • Any unreimbursed medical expenses incurred by the decedent as a result of the accident that caused the death
  • All funeral and burial expenses
  • The fair market value of any services that the decedent would have provided to the family, such as housekeeping, childrearing or home maintenance
  • The loss of care, guidance and nurturing by any surviving children of the decedent
  • Any physical pain and suffering to the decedent as a result of the accident, but before death—note that New York law does not allow surviving family members to seek compensation for their own pain and suffering, including mental anguish
  • Any lost inheritance caused by the accidental death

Have You Lost a Loved One because of Someone Else’s Carelessness or Negligence?

Let the Law Office of John Fazzini help protect your legal rights. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our offices at (631)547-8989.