When a close friend or family member dies, there is always an emotional cost. Regardless of the cause of your loved one’s passing, you are left with the loss of support and companionship, unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other hardships. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, a lawsuit for wrongful death in Orange County, NY can help to offset the costs of funeral expenses and lost income.
Here is what you should know:
Wrongful Death Defined
A wrongful death occurs when the “wrongful” conduct of a person or entity results in the preventable death of another individual. In all areas of personal injury law, including automobile accidents, defective medical devices, and construction accidents, wrongful death is possible. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies can be held legally accountable for negligent behavior.
There are two significant differences between a wrongful death claim and a criminal case, even when both are based on the same death. A claim for wrongful death is a civil lawsuit. It is brought directly to court by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, and the only available remedy is financial recovery for the plaintiff. In contrast, a criminal case is initiated by the state or federal government, and the guilty party is punished with jail or prison time, probation, or other sanctions.
Who May File a Suit for Wrongful Death?
The individuals eligible to file a lawsuit for wrongful death can vary from state to state. In New York, a claim for wrongful death must be filed by the executor of the deceased person’s estate.
The personal representative may be a close relative, including:
The court may appoint a personal representative if the deceased person did not name one in his or her will.
What Kinds of Damages Might You Recover?
There are numerous circumstances in which a person may be killed unjustly due to the actions of another.
For instance, victims of automobile accidents may sustain fatal injuries, an elderly loved one may perish as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, or a patient may perish as a result of medical malpractice.
In such situations, the surviving family members of the deceased may seek compensation from the person or parties responsible for their loved one’s death.
While no amount of money can bring a loved one back to life, the compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit can help a family address some of their losses.
• Medical expenses – Prior to their death, a person may have required extensive medical care, and the costs of this care can place a significant burden on their family. These costs may include emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, medications, and end-of-life care.
• Loss of income – If the deceased person provided some or all of a family’s income, their death may prevent the surviving family members from meeting their ongoing needs, such as paying for food, housing, or transportation. A wrongful death claim may allow a family to recover the income their loved one would have earned for the remainder of his or her working life, as well as other benefits such as medical insurance and retirement benefits.
• Loss of companionship – Family members may be able to seek compensation for the loving relationship they would have shared with the deceased. A parent may have provided educational instruction, child care, or assistance with school activities, for instance.
• Grief, sorrow, and mental anguish – Although it may be difficult to assign a monetary value to the emotional pain experienced by family members following the death of a loved one, a jury may award a reasonable amount of compensation to address psychological harm. Additionally, compensation may cover the cost of ongoing therapy or psychiatric care.
• Funeral and burial expenses – The costs associated with holding a memorial service, purchasing a casket, and burying a family member can exceed a few thousand dollars. A claim for wrongful death can ensure that these costs do not compromise a family’s ability to meet its ongoing financial obligations.
If a person or organization’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, you should be aware of your options for seeking compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Attorney Benjamin Greenwald can provide you with the legal assistance you require during this difficult time, and he will work to ensure that the negligent party or parties are held liable for the harm they have caused to your family in Orange County NY. Contact our office to set up a complimentary consultation. We will not collect any legal fees unless we successfully resolve your case.