Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?

In New York, only certain people are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit following the victim’s death: spouse, parents, children, or the personal or court-appointed representative of the victim’s estate. Siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins typically do not have grounds for a wrongful death claim– unless they have been previously appointed by the deceased.

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No court settlement or jury verdict can bring back the victim. However, wrongful death claims seek to compensate close family members for the damages related to the tragic loss of their loved one, and a New York City wrongful death lawyer can help with that.

Personal Representatives

While it is relatively clear-cut to determine the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased, it may seem at first glance that identifying a personal representative may be more complicated– however, it is not. They are typically selected by the victim directly when formulating a will or trust for their estate. If no will or trust has been created, the court may appoint a personal representative to settle the victim’s financial affairs.

What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

In a nutshell, a wrongful death case is a civil action in response to someone’s untimely death due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another person or entity. In all of these cases, if the victim’s injuries had not been fatal, there still would have been grounds for a personal injury claim. Some of the more common examples are included here:

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Who Receives the Financial Settlement?

If you reach a financial settlement with the defendant or earn a jury verdict in your favor in a wrongful death lawsuit, then the defendant will owe you a specified amount of money. It is important to note that there will likely be multiple people entitled to their fair share of this financial recovery. If the victim’s heirs cannot agree upon a fair allocation, they may need to return to court to let the legal system decide how to apportion everything.

When Do You Need to File Your Claim?

In New York, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years. In other words, you have two years from the day the victim dies in which to file your claim, or else you risk forfeiting your legal rights stemming from this matter. This is why it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

New Yorkers Know They Can Count on Us

At Douglas & London, our New York City personal injury lawyers have represented thousands of New Yorkers going through some of the most challenging times of their lives. We are proud of our track record, winning over $18 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.

Contact us for a free consultation

Our staff is available 24/7. If you would like to learn more about wrongful death lawsuits in New York, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, so there are no legal costs upfront.  We look forward to advocating for you.