Many New York families have received the devastating news that a loved one was killed in a motor vehicle collision, workplace accident or as a victim of a violent crime. No one is ever prepared to receive such news and learning to move forward following the sudden death of a family member is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have in life. Grief is often intensified when a family learns that their loved one’s death was preventable and was caused by another person’s negligence. This information often compels an immediate family member to file a wrongful death claim in a civil court.
State law allows a spouse, parent, legal guardian or adult child to seek restitution when someone has acted with negligence, reckless behavior or malice to cause the death of a loved one. As a plaintiff in a wrongful death claim, a person is tasked with proving in court that the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care and was negligent in a manner that was the proximate cause of the victim’s death. There are several things to keep in mind when filing this type of claim.
Would the decedent have been able to sue for damages?
One of the issues that determines whether you can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one is whether the decedent would have had grounds for filing a personal injury claim if he or she had survived. You must also be able to demonstrate that the decedent’s loved ones have suffered financial and emotional distress because of their loss. In this state, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of your family member’s date of death.
Wrongful death litigation can be complex and stressful
To convince a judge or jury that a defendant is responsible for damages that occurred in connection with someone’s death, the incident that led to the death must be discussed in great detail in the courtroom. For a grieving family member, such discussion intensifies the emotional trauma that is already being experienced. Gregory P. Haegele, PLLC, strives to help alleviate such stress for New York families who have suffered the loss of a loved one by acting on their behalf to seek restitution from the party or parties deemed liable for damages.