NYC Wrongful Death Lawyer
Have you lost a close family member in a fatal NYC accident? Whether they were struck by a car or killed on a job site, your family may be entitled to substantial monetary damages. The experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers NYC at The Platta Law Firm will fight to maximize your financial recovery.
We know that money won’t bring your family member back. However, it can make a difficult time a little bit easier. Our law firm has helped injury victims and families like yours recover $150 Million+.
Let us put 130+ years of experience to work to get you the compensation your family deserves. Your first case evaluation is free, and there’s no cost to hire us unless we win your wrongful death case. Contact our New York City law office at 212-514-5100, conveniently located in Manhattan, to get started. We’re standing by and ready to help you right now.
Why You Should Hire an NYC Personal Injury Lawyer After a Fatal Accident?
The emotional component of losing a family member is tough enough. Once you factor in what their death means financially, it can be downright overwhelming. If someone else caused your loved one’s fatal accident in NYC they must be held accountable. This is where The Platta Law Firm can help.
Our NYC personal injury lawyers have been fighting for families like yours in New York City, NY since 2007. We understand just how devastating a sudden, tragic death in the family can be. We also know that the money you’re able to recover in a survival action or wrongful death lawsuit can make a world of difference – today and in the future. Choose our law firm to handle your wrongful death case, and we will:
- Explain all of your legal options for financial recovery – which might include workers’ compensation death benefits or damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Lead an independent investigation into the accident that caused your loved one’s death.
- Consult with leading experts in the tri-state area, including medical professionals, economic specialists, forensic experts, and more.
- Analyze critical pieces of evidence to determine what caused the accident and identify who’s liable.
- Take legal action against anyone who directly or indirectly caused your family member’s death.
We’re tough negotiators and respected litigators. While our goal will be to negotiate a favorable deal, our trial attorneys will be fully prepared to take your case to court. Take this time to focus on your grief and moving forward. Let our wrongful death attorneys in NYC handle your fight for compensation.
How Do I Know if I Have a Wrongful Death Case After a Fatal Accident in New York?
Wrongful death refers to avoidable deaths that happen as a result of negligence, wrongful actions, or default. In New York, a family may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one is killed in an accident and would have had the right to file a claim if they’d survived. The right to take legal action isn’t lost just because the victim doesn’t survive. Under N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 11-3.2, it simply transfers to their family (or more specifically, their estate). Wrongful death lawsuits can arise after any fatal accident in New York City, including:
The Platta Law Firm will be there for your family matter what kind of accident has caused you to suffer this kind of tragic loss. Contact our wrongful death lawyers in New York City to find out how we can help you navigate a wrongful death action and fight to make things right.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in NY?
Family members can benefit from a wrongful death lawsuit. A victim’s spouse, child(ren), and/or parents are first in line to recover compensation. If none of those are surviving, then any heirs can receive damages in a wrongful death case.
However, it’s ultimately the victim’s personal representative who has to file it with the court.
The personal representative is either chosen by the victim before they die (in their will) or appointed by the court after their death. Many times, the personal representative is a close family member.
How Much Money is my Family’s Wrongful Death Case Worth?
Is filing a wrongful death case worth it? It can be, especially if you were financially dependent on your family member. So, what’s your wrongful death case worth after a fatal NYC accident? It depends, as every situation is so different. According to the National Safety Council, the average economic cost of a fatal car accident in 2019 was just north of $1.7 Million. This factors in things like lost income and productivity, lost benefits, the cost of replacing or repairing property, medical expenses incurred prior to death, and administrative costs. Important considerations in valuing a wrongful death case include:
- The victim’s age and their life expectancy before death
- The victim’s income and retirement benefits, and
- The degree to which they supported others financially.
The more of a financial impact you experience because of the fatal accident, the more your wrongful death action is likely to be worth.
What Damages are Available in a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits are different from other types of personal injury lawsuits in many ways. One notable difference involves the types of damages that can be awarded. In New York, families are entitled to “fair and just compensation for the pecuniary injuries” related to a fatal accident. In other words, economic damages can be awarded in New York wrongful death cases. This can include money for:
- Loss of benefits
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of inheritance
- The value of household services
- Loss of future wages and income
- Medical expenses incurred before death
- The value of nurturing, care, and guidance to surviving children
While individual family members can’t recover compensation for their pain and suffering, these non-economic awards aren’t entirely off the table. They can be awarded if the victim survived their injuries for any period of time after their accident. The financial award would reflect the victim’s own pain and suffering in that span of time.
What’s the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in New York?
Under New York law, the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is typically two years (or two-and-a-half years for instances of fatal medical errors). You’ll notice this gives families less time to file a lawsuit than is typical in other types of personal injury cases. Time begins to run the moment the victim dies. Note this may or may not be the same date as their fatal accident. If they survive for a month and then die, then the statute of limitations would begin to run one month after the accident that inflicted their fatal wounds.
Two years might seem like a long time. However, it will fly by as you grieve. Don’t let too much time go by without taking action. You’ll give up the right to demand compensation (and get a bit of justice) if the statute of limitations expires before you act. The Platta Law Firm is here to help you navigate this difficult time. Reach out to our New York wrongful death lawyers as soon as you can after your traumatic loss. We’ll handle your wrongful death case and work to ensure that you’re set up to not only win, but get every cent your family deserves.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Case if my Family Member Shares Blame for Their Accident?
Yes – and you can win, just as long as they’re not entirely at fault. New York has a pure comparative negligence system in place. Sharing liability for an accident won’t bar a victim (or their family) from seeking damages in an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, it will affect how much money can be recovered.
Damages in a wrongful death action will be adjusted based on shared fault. Let’s say your spouse was killed in a fatal car accident in one of the city’s boroughs. It’s determined that their own negligence played a role. Perhaps they were texting and driving and didn’t see another driver running a red light. They’re assigned 20 percent fault. When you file a wrongful death action, you’ll be able to recover 80 percent of the available damages.
After accidents, insurance companies, in particular, tend to try to blame the victim. They point fingers and do whatever they can to limit how much money they’re forced to pay surviving family members. If you do nothing, you could watch your financial award fade away or disappear altogether. Our New York wrongful death attorneys will not let these types of allegations go uncontested. We will fight to defend your family member’s reputation and disprove claims that they were negligent. If they did play a role, then we’ll fight to limit how much fault they’re assigned. The more successful our efforts the more money your family can walk away with when the legal case is over.
What Does it Cost to Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer in NYC?
Personal injury attorneys in NYC work on a contingency fee basis. You pay absolutely nothing unless or until we win your case – and that’s a guarantee. When we negotiate a settlement agreement or win a verdict for you at trial, then we get paid. Typically attorneys’ fees range between one-third and 40 percent of your financial recovery. Don’t worry about the added cost of a NYC wrongful death attorney. Focus your time, energy, and financial reserves on grieving and moving forward. Trust The Platta Law Firm to work tirelessly on your behalf to get you maximum compensation.
Wrongful Death Cases – FAQs
The Statute of Limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit is currently two years from the date of death. But if the “Grieving Families Act” becomes law, (see below) that time limit would expand to three years and six months.
The lawsuit itself is filed by the estate representative, called an executor, or administrator. New York does not permit a family member – spouse, child, sibling, etc. – to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The real issue, though, is who is eligible to recover damages, and how are the damages calculated.
The “Who” part of the answer is pretty easy. The deceased’s distributes – someone entitled to a distribution if the deceased had died without a will – is entitled to recover damages. However, the way that damages are calculated can be controversial. New York wrongful death damages are limited to compensate for a survivor’s monetary loss only; for example, the loss of support that a surviving spouse or child suffers from that death. Currently, compensation for a surviving spouse or child’s emotional suffering is not permitted. That is why recovery on a wrongful death case on behalf of a young child or elderly parent is usually limited.
While it sounds unfair, the sad truth is that a defendant (in theory anyway) makes out better if the victim of their negligence is very young, or elderly.
Yes. The New York Legislature has passed the “Grieving Families Act”, and as of this writing – November 2022 – the legislation awaits the governor’s signature. If the Act becomes law, damages will no longer be limited to a survivor’s financial loss; damages will be permitted for emotional loss as well.
In addition to adding emotional suffering as a category of allowable damages, the Grieving Families Act modernizes the definition of a family, such that “close family members” would be eligible to receive damages. So not only a spouse, but also a domestic partner would be eligible; a parent would be eligible, as would a stepparent. In fact, the law would permit a jury to determine the definition of “close family members” based upon the specific circumstances relating to that person’s relationship with the deceased.
New York law always has, and will continue to permit recovery for a deceased person’s pre-death damages – pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.
Well, yes, and that is why the Grieving Families Act was passed. The “law of unintended consequences” leaves a negligent defendant in better shape if a young child is killed than if that child survives and requires lifelong medical care.
Maybe. One element of pre-death damages is for what is known as “fear of impending death”. That represents compensation for the potential psychological trauma that might ensue upon the realization that one is about to experience a potentially fatal accident.
Arrange a Free Consultation with an Experienced NYC Wrongful Death Lawyer
Your life can change in a split second when a family member dies unexpectedly. It can be even more difficult when you’re robbed of the opportunity to say goodbye simply because someone else was negligent. Contact The Platta Law Firm to discover how our award-winning NYC wrongful death lawyers can help to make this devastating time in your life a little bit easier. We can put 130+ years of combined experience to hold those responsible for your tragic loss fully accountable. Since 2007, we’ve helped countless families in New York City, New York and across all five boroughs. Our law office serves clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and surrounding areas. Give us a call at 212-514-5100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We’re standing by to help you right now or when you need us the most.