Losing a loved one is always challenging, especially when their death is caused by another party’s negligence. The Westchester County wrongful death attorneys at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green understand how draining, emotionally and financially, this time is for our Westchester residents. Thankfully, the law does offer some recourse.

Survivors of the deceased have a right to pursue compensation from the negligent party, and an experienced Westchester wrongful death lawyer can help guide you. For example, your loved one might have passed away in a fatal car accident due to negligent driving or a botched medical procedure performed by a surgeon. We are experienced in all types of wrongful death claims and are here to fight for you.

Statute of Limitations

Like with most claims, there is a statute of limitations that sets forth a deadline. In New York, it is two years. It means that the wrongful death action must be brought within two years of the passing of your loved one. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it’s best to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.  

Legal Definition of Wrongful Death

How does the law define wrongful death? Under the pertinent New York statute, wrongful death is caused by another party’s wrongful or intentional act. The victim, had they survived, could have pursued a personal injury claim. For example, to succeed on a wrongful death claim resulting from a fatal car accident in Westchester, your lawyer has to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the fatality.

The next logical question is–who is eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit? In New York, just because you are family does not mean that you can file. The individual must also be the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

What Are the Damages That are Available?

Under New York law, you can recover the financial damages due to the loss of your loved one. These can consist of:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses, if any, for the individual before their death.
  • Compensation for the decedent’s lost wages on which the family members were dependent.
  • Loss of support that the victim provided, e.g., care for elderly parents or child care
  • Pain and suffering for the time they lived after the accident.

However, surviving family members cannot recover damages for the pain and suffering they experienced due to their loss. However, an important distinction is that surviving family members can recover for the pain and anguish suffered by the deceased from the instant the accident occurred until their demise.

A common yet unfortunate scenario is when the decedent was involved in a car accident and did not immediately succumb to their injuries. However, in the interim, they were in a great deal of pain. At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, we are experienced in wrongful death claims, and we will fight for your rights and the rights of your deceased loved one.

Proving a wrongful death claim

First, your attorney will need to determine who can be held liable. In a claim stemming from a fatal car accident in Westchester, for example, you can sue the owner of the vehicle, driver and any other party whose negligence contributed to the accident. It may, for instance, be a  defective car part manufacturer. In the case of a negligent surgical procedure that resulted in a wrongful death, you would be able to sue the surgeon and the hospital.

Often the most important point of contention in a wrongful death case is negligence. This is where many wrongful death cases are won and lost. Proving negligence can hinge on many different issues depending on the underlying facts. In support of your wrongful death claim, you will also need different types of evidence, which can consist of:

  • Certified copy of decedent’s death certificate.
  • Police reports if any.
  • Witness testimony.
  • Medical Records and Autopsy Report of the decedent.

We are familiar with the rules of evidence in New York state and will determine what you will need to help your case. 

The Insurance Companies

Frequently many wrongful death claims are settled with the defendant’s insurance company. The insurance company might employ different arguments and strategies. For example, they may employ comparative negligence. New York is a comparative negligence state. Therefore, the amount of recovery is reduced depending on the plaintiff’s negligence. For example, if the deceased was 20% responsible, the amount recovered will be reduced proportionately.

Contact an experienced Westchester wrongful death lawyer for a Free Consultation

Attorneys at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green are Westchester County’s wrongful death lawyers of choice. We have over 50 years of experience helping our clients and proudly serve throughout the NYC metropolitan area, from Westchester to Long Island, from their main offices in Manhattan.

Our Westchester personal injury attorneys will meticulously review your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced team. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.