When another person’s negligence kills a loved one, you have grounds for a wrongful death suit. The negligent party can be held accountable for the loss.
Of course, money won’t bring back your loved one. But often, the death of a loved one creates large financial obligations and problems. A wrongful death suit is meant to help you address those issues and problems.
Only certain parties may file a wrongful death action. These are usually the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents. There are also cases where a dependent, beneficiary, or heir of the decedent can recover damages.
Only one claim may be filed, and the proceeds must be shared out between all claimants. The personal representative of the estate must file the claim.
How much is a wrongful death claim worth?
It depends. Certain expenses are covered, including medical expenses incurred by the accident prior to the decedent’s passing, funeral expenses, the decedent’s lost wages, income, and benefits, the value of the family services provided by the deceased, the loss of expected inheritances, and pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to death.
Your own pain and suffering are not factored into the case, and there is no bereavement payout in New York.
However, the Grieving Families Act, currently awaiting the governor’s signature, would change the way that wrongful death suits are compensated. Right now, the law as written functionally makes the deaths of elders, children, and people of color worth less when it’s time to write a check for compensation. For the most part, only the economic impact of that person’s life is really considered once the bills are tallied up. The bill would allow courts to consider the true impact of the loss on the family, including emotional losses. Of course, the insurance industry is opposing the bill.
Why isn’t the payout automatic?
You still have to prove negligence. The other party’s insurance company is not going to rush to compensate you.
Indeed, they’re going to do everything in their power to try to prove they aren’t responsible for these expenses. That might include attempting to blame your loved one for the accident, or making a case for why they have no responsibility to your loved one given the current set of case facts. They do this regardless of whether you’re dealing with a car accident, slip and fall case, a construction accident, a medical malpractice case, or a defective product case. They don’t care that your family is struggling.
That’s why it’s so important to have a Queens wrongful death attorney on your side. We investigate the facts of the case and use them to refute the claims of the insurance company. This also allows us to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
If you’ve lost a loved one because someone else’s negligence caused a fatal accident, don’t wait. Contacting our law office is 100% risk-free. Schedule your free case review today.