Any time a loved one dies, it is a sad time. Even if the person lived a long, happy life, families are still left to mourn the loss of that person in their day to day life. When that death occurs suddenly and as a result of someone’s carelessness, it can be especially devastating. For many families, the knowledge that their loved one would be alive if not for another person’s negligence is a difficult burden to bear. In addition to their grief, the family may also be left facing financial concerns caused by the death.
Though it can be difficult to think about legal matters during this time, surviving family members may be able to pursue legal action to obtain both justice for their loved one and compensation to provide financial security. Attorney Gerry Oginski understands all too well what a wrongful death case means to a family. When he was young, his family lived this experience after the untimely death of his father. Today, he helps those in similar situations to understand their legal options and fight for the justice they deserve.
What Is Considered Wrongful Death in New York?
In the state of New York, a wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is caused by the wrong conduct of another. Wrongful death cases can result from a multitude of situations, including medical malpractice, auto accidents, truck accidents, premises liability, defective products, and more. To successfully mount a wrongful death case, the surviving family members must show that:
- The responsible party acted negligently.
- That negligence resulted in the death of the loved one.
- There is a surviving spouse, children, or other dependent.
- The surviving family members or dependents suffered financial damage as a result of the death.
If you aren’t sure if your case meets these guidelines, or if you even have a case at all, feel free to call our office at 516.487.8207 to speak with Gerry Oginski. He can answer your questions and help you learn more about how the law applies to your unique case. Or, request a free copy of his book, In Case of Death: How to Find Your Way After Your Loved One Has Died, for a comprehensive look at New York wrongful death cases.
What Kinds of Compensation Is Available to Surviving Family Members?
A wrongful death case in New York is a two-part claim—first, for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased leading up to his or her death, and second, for specific financial losses to the family. Unlike in many other states, victims’ families cannot seek compensation for the pain they experience because of the death of their loved one. Unfortunately, New York law does not acknowledge that family members deserve any compensation for their grief. Though, there are rare instances in which a family member or members can pursue a separate claim for their emotional distress if they were in the “zone of danger” at the time of the incident.
Families are, however, permitted to seek compensation for specific losses, including:
- Lost income
- Lost benefits
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills related to the deceased’s care
- Cost of nursing care and support services for the deceased
- Lost inheritance for surviving children
- Lost parental nurturing and guidance for surviving children
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?
New York law is rather unique in its approach to wrongful death cases. Typically, these cases are brought by surviving spouses, children, or parents. While that is true in New York, a wrongful death claim may only be filed by a designated “personal representative” of the victim’s estate. The personal representative may or may not be a member of the family, but he or she will represent the interests of the deceased and all surviving family members eligible make the claim. If damages are awarded, the personal representative essentially acts as the executor of a trust and is responsible for allocating the compensation appropriately.
What Can I Expect From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under the law, surviving family members have two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. After that, the courts will refuse to hear the case. While the filing deadlines are absolute, there is no specific timeline for how long a case will take.
Wrongful death claims can be very difficult on families. In addition to managing their grief, they are faced with the unwanted task of reliving the negligence and, in some cases, having to defend the behavior of their loved one from the aggressive tactics of insurance companies and defendants. Gerry Oginski understands how challenging these cases can be, and he is here to provide the surviving family members with both compassion and vigorous representation. He will fight for your interests and do his best to protect your rights from the demands and maneuvers of the insurance companies, who are out only to preserve their own bottom line.
Our Experienced New York Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
While we recognize that a lawsuit will not bring your loved one back, it can give you and your family the satisfaction of knowing that you fought for justice for your loved one and that you’ve done all you can to prevent another family from experiencing your pain. It can also provide vital compensation to help ensure that your family can move forward securely.
If your loved one has died because of the negligence of another person, you have legal rights in the state of New York. Call Gerry Oginski at 516.487.8207 to learn more about what you can do to get the justice your family deserves. If you prefer, take a moment to fill out our online contact form. You can expect a quick and personal response.