How Much is a Wrongful Death Case Worth in New York?

Perhaps nothing is more devastating than the death of a family member in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. The best that a personal injury lawyer can do is to help the family members recover wrongful death damages to compensate for the economic impact of the accident and their loss. In New York, the value of each case will depend upon the unique circumstances of the accident and the injuries and lifestyle of the deceased. During such a challenging time, a New York City wrongful death lawyer at Douglas and London can be your best resource.

What variables are considered in the calculation of wrongful death damages?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, a personal injury lawyer will argue to recover compensation for:

  • the accident victim’s medical expenses
  • funeral and burial costs
  • the victim’s pain and suffering that preceded their death
  • wages, salary, and any future earnings that the deceased party would have earned over any remaining life expectancy
  • loss of companionship and family interactions

While fighting for this compensation, the lawyer will present a detailed picture of the accident victim, including their age, overall health, activities, involvement with children and grandchildren, and participation in community activities. The victim’s family members and professional and personal acquaintances might be asked to describe the victim– to create as clear a picture as is possible of the value of their life. The lawyer will then use all of that information to assess the worth of the case.

Which parties are entitled to recover wrongful death damages?

An accident victim’s death will give rise to two distinct causes of action. The damages that are recoverable under each separate cause will be calculated and distributed differently.

  • The accident victim’s estate can file a survivorship action to recover damages for the victim’s pain and suffering before their death. Those damages are paid to the victim’s estate and are distributed to heirs as instructed by a will or estate plan.
  • A deceased party’s spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for their pecuniary losses associated with the victim’s demise. Those damages will be distributed to the parties that suffered monetary losses.

New York City personal injury lawyers will consider all parties who might have one or both of these causes of action to determine the full and final value of a wrongful death case. The statutes of limitations and deadlines for filing both may not be identical. Accordingly, an accident victim’s survivors and estate representative should consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as is possible– to avoid missing an important deadline.  

Does New York place limits on how much a wrongful death case can be worth?

New York State does not place hard limits on the value of a wrongful death case, but the recovery for specific types of damages might be subject to certain caps. For example:

  • Unlike many other states, New York places no limits on wrongful death damages for a deceased party’s pain and suffering before their death. To recover those damages, a personal injury attorney will need to show that the victim remained conscious and was aware of the injuries. Testimony from emergency responders and physicians can be used to show the deceased party’s cognitive awareness.
  • New York does not provide damages for the pain and heartbreak experienced by any survivors. Likewise, a victim’s spouse may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium, but only for the period between the accident and the victim’s death.
  • Minor children may be entitled to recover damages for loss of parental support, but the calculation of those damages will end on the child’s 21st birthday.

Contact us for a free consultation

At Douglas and London, we represent the estates and survivors of accident victims throughout New York State. Please fill out our contact form or call us directly to speak with one of our lawyers about what your New York wrongful death case might be worth.