When a family in New York loses someone they love, the last thing they are thinking about is filing a lawsuit. However, if that death happened because someone acted negligently, a lawsuit may be the right thing to file. Sometimes, the best way to find closure is to hold the negligent party responsible through a wrongful death court filing. In the process, needed compensation becomes available.
At Cellino Law, we have Staten Island wrongful death lawyers available who can help you after the death of a loved one. They are experienced and understand how frightful the process can be. It is essential to act quickly because the deadlines for filing a wrongful death suit are shorter than other types of suits. Our attorneys understand this and help to expedite the process for our clients.
Many types of accidents can be fatal. In our Staten Island injury firm, we have represented clients who have lost loved ones due to:
- Property kept in an unsafe condition
- Attacks by dogs
- Products with defects
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Falls, slips, and trips
Table of Contents
When Is A Death Considered Wrongful?
When an individual acts in a negligent or reckless way and causes a death, that death may be determined to be a wrongful one. They frequently happen because of car or truck accidents, abuse or neglect at a nursing home, malpractice in a medical setting, or an accident during construction.
The representative of the decedent’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the people who caused the death.
In general, the aim of the claim is to recover damages for the heir or heirs. The people for whom this process is designed to protect include:
- The spouse or significant other
- The offspring of the decedent
- The parents of a minor child
For a free consultation with no obligation, call the Staten Island, New York, offices of Cellino Law at (800)-555-5555 if the negligent or reckless actions of someone caused your loved one’s death. There are operators available to accept your call seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Our attorneys will come to you since we understand how difficult this time is for our clients. Don’t let the worry that the process is too expensive stop you. We never charge for our services until after the case is settled.
Our clients are treated with care and respect. We understand that cases of wrongful death are difficult emotionally for everyone. That’s why we take the time to listen carefully and then explain exactly what the process of filing a lawsuit entails. We are here to help our clients, which is how we have become the top choice for legal assistance of this type in Staten Island.
Wrongful Death Case Types Typically Handled By Attorneys
There are a large number of circumstances that can cause death. However, some types of wrongful death cases are more common than others. At Cellino Law, these are some of the most common:
- Car accidents
- Accidents involving a drunk driver
- Airplane accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Train accidents
- Product defects
- Criminal activities
- Brutality by police
- Acts by terrorists
Proving A Claim Of Wrongful Death
In order to win a claim in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is necessary to establish that your loved one’s death occurred in an untimely manner because of the negligence or recklessness of the responsible party. That neglect or reckless behavior must be proven to be the cause of death either in a direct way or in a way that contributed to the death.
Reckless behavior is defined as a disregard on a conscious basis of the risk of harm to others. Negligent behavior, on the other hand, requires that the individual failed to address a situation or act in a manner that a person behaving reasonably would act given a similar set of circumstances.
To build a case, two things must be proven. Cellino Law will prove the following once they are hired to represent you.
A Duty Is Owned By The Responsible Party
People have a duty to act in a responsible way. The consequences of their actions are owned by an individual. In order to keep other people safe, the responsible party must legally refrain from actions or acts that can cause harm to others.
The Legal Duty Was Breached By The Defendant
Evidence must be presented that the defendant failed to act in a prudent and reasonable way or that their actions were negligent, reckless, or careless in order to prove that the wrongful death of a person occurred.
For example, a motorist must obey the rules of the road to be considered as acting in a way that a reasonable person would behave. Driving within these boundaries shows that the general duty of care has been met. When someone drives while violating those rules and causes a death, that death may be wrongful.
Reckless or negligent conduct on the road includes following too closely behind another vehicle, speeding, not paying attention to the road conditions while driving, or other acts. If any of these behaviors are proven, a breach of duty by the defendant may be inferred.
When a loved one dies because of conduct by the defendant, their death will be the responsibility of the defendant. Conduct, as well as lack of conduct, can lead to harm that is foreseeable.
Another example of wrongful death occurs when an anesthesiologist delivers the wrong dose of anesthesia, which results in the death of a loved one. The defendant caused damages in this case. Because of this, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death case.
Compensation can be recovered after a wrongful death for a variety of items. These include:
- Hospital and medical care before death
- Expected earnings losses of the decedent
- Companion loss
- Consortium loss
- Cost of funeral
What Do Wrongful Death Lawyers In Staten Island Do To Establish A Claim?
There are a variety of steps to successfully prosecute a case. The first step is to hire a financial expert to analyze the case. Potential earnings and wages lost are calculated. The price of counseling is factored in. These and many other items are calculated to determine what the damages are. Doing this right is crucial and leads to the desired result for clients.
When it comes to wrongful death claims, the Cellino Law attorneys are top-rated within the personal injury field. Consider giving Cellino Law a call if you need a wrongful death attorney based in the State of New York. The law firm handles cases all over the state, not just in Staten Island. Cellino Law will have your back once they accept your case, which brings comfort to countless families in New York.
Who Can File A Staten Island Wrongful Death Case?
The only person authorized to file a claim of wrongful death in the State of New York is the decedent’s estate’s personal representative. That representative may be the executor or administrator of the estate. The representative is appointed by the County Surrogate’s Court. When a will is available, the named executor is given the responsibility. When an executor is not noted, the judge of the Surrogate’s Court names an Administrator.
No matter what the title is, this representative is the only person legally able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party named within the suit. They must file the claim, or a claim may be filed on behalf of the family members who survive the decedent and the estate of the decedent.
In New York, family members who may file a wrongful death case include:
- Children who are biological or adopted
- Blood relatives who were dependent upon the decedent
In New York, Is There A Limit On The Time You Have To File A Wrongful Death Claim?
A distinction must be made before this question of time limits can be properly answered. That distinction is between the cause of action between conscious suffering and pain and the cause of action for the wrongful death. Action related to conscious suffering and pain is linked to personal injury claims that the decedent may have filed had they survived. The time limitations of personal injury law apply here. Based on the date of death, a wrongful death case may be filed within two years following the actions or negligence that caused the death. These are the statutes in New York cases that cover the time limits.
However, when it comes to medical malpractice, claims can only be made within two and a half years from the date that the action causing conscious suffering and pain occurred. These times may be shorter when the defendant is a city or other public authority. In these cases, claimants must file a 90-day Notice of Claim before starting a lawsuit. Knowing these limits is vital to avoid having a case thrown out on a technicality or not be able to file at all.
Keep in mind that each action may have a separate time limitation. That means that they must be individually calculated. A case may be untimely with respect to the conscious suffering and pain cause of action while remaining timely under the statutes that govern wrongful death. In cases such as these, damages may only be recovered for the wrongful death portion of the claim.
How Much Can Be Recovered In A Wrongful Death Claim?
When a loved one dies, there is no amount of money that can take away the grief. That’s why the financial earnings and economic impact of death are most commonly taken into consideration by the State of New York. In wrongful death lawsuits, the damages awarded fall into two primary categories. The first one is linked directly to the amount of suffering and pain the victim experienced prior to passing away. A forensic pathologist generally testifies after completing an extensive analysis. While hearing the details of their loved one’s pain and suffering is difficult for survivors, it is important because it helps to get the family properly compensated.
The second type of damages is related to the earning potential of the victim and their expected contribution to the family or individual surviving after the wrongful death. This loss of finances is evaluated by looking at financial records to determine the extent of the money lost due to the loved ones’ death. There are a variety of damages that can be filed for after death. These include:
- The cost of medical care for the deceased required due to the accident
- The price charged for the burial, funeral, and/or cremation of the victim
- Childcare, healthcare policies, or other services provided by the decedent to the family
- Unearned, or lost, wages that the defendant will no longer provide
- Reduced value of inheritance or assets provided by the deceased
- Lost guidance provided to surviving children due to the parent’s death
Two primary factors are taken into consideration when economic damages are calculated. These are especially important when it comes to wages that are lost. They are the victim’s age at the time of death and the length remaining of their life expectancy. When a young child unexpectedly loses a parent, they also lose the support of many years of wages that would have seen them into adulthood.
Unfortunately, the surviving family members’ emotional pain and suffering are not taken into account in the State of New York when damages are being assessed. This part of the law lacks compassion and is unfortunate. As practicing attorneys in the field of wrongful death, our offices are actively fighting to change this and make New York law take emotional damages into account. Until then, lawsuits are filed to get the most help possible.
What If The Victim Is Found To Be Responsible For The Accident?
Unfortunately, many people tend to blame the person who died in an accident for the accident itself. While victims are not always free of blame, it may still be possible to successfully file a claim and receive compensation. In cases where a victim has been found to be negligent and has been at least partially responsible for the cause of death, there are rules that determine how much compensation is available.
The State of New York uses statutes that employ comparative negligence. When more than one person or institution has been found to share a portion of the blame, they are required to pay their share of it. Suppose that the decedent was found to be one-third responsible for the action that caused his or her death. That means that the final amount of damages will be reduced by one-third.
Contact the Staten Island Wrongful Death Lawyers At Cellino Law Today
Keep in mind that there are time limitations attached to wrongful death cases so you should contact a Staten Island wrongful death lawyer soon. Once a representative decides to pursue legal actions, it is important to act quickly so that the limitations on time do not expire. These limitations are shorter when the case involves public authorities. The courts will not extend the statute of limitations, so it is vital that survivors act quickly.
Even though the thought of an autopsy may offend, these post-death medical procedures may be the only way to determine the cause of death. This is particularly the case in medical malpractice lawsuits. Consider having an autopsy performed even when personal or religious beliefs are negative. While challenging, they can make the difference between winning a lawsuit and not winning it.