When a person dies as a result of an act of negligence, recklessness or wrongdoing, the person, persons, or entities responsible should be held accountable. A wrongful death claim is filed in civil court to seek damages for consequences suffered by the decedent and the close family members, such as the spouse and children. The Manhattan wrongful death attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, are dedicated to seeking justice for families who have suffered the tragic, avoidable death of a loved one.
Do you have a wrongful death case? Call us at (212) 986-7353 today to discuss the facts in the case.
A wide range of incidents could allow for a wrongful death lawsuit. These incidents include, but are not limited to:
- Car Accidents: When a driver is engaged in negligent driving conduct, such as driving drunk, drug intoxicated, speeding, reckless driving, or other dangerous driving behavior that caused an accident, a wrongful death case can be filed to seek justice and financial compensation for close family members.
- Truck Accidents: The streets of Manhattan are dangerous at the best of times; when a commercial truck driver operates a vehicle unsafely, causing an accident, the results can be a catastrophe, leading to the death of an innocent pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, driver, or passenger.
- Dangerous Premises: Property owners have a duty of care to those who visit or are present on their property. If the owner has failed to maintain a safe premises, leading to a hazard on the property, (such as slippery or oily walking surfaces), or has failed to warn others of a hazard that caused an accident leading to death, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed to pursue damages.
- Falls, Slip and Falls: Property owners and managers have a legal duty to ensure those who are legally present on the property are reasonably safe from harm. Falls are among the most common causes of loss of life, with about 32,000 deaths of older adults reported every year, as reported by the CDC. Fatal falls can occur on sidewalks, in retail outlets, sports or entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, or other locations. If the fall was the result of a lack of maintenance, failure to warn those legally present of a walking hazard, or other act of negligence, a wrongful death claim could be filed to pursue some degree of justice for close family members.
- Assaults Leading to Death: A lack of adequate security may put a visitor, guest, resident, or employee at risk of a deadly assault. When the property owner or manager fails to provide a reasonably secure, safe environment, it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim.
- Medical Malpractice: Medical professionals must provide care that meets a standard, called the “accepted standard of care.” When a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, dentist, or other medical practitioner makes a medical error, fails to diagnose a serious condition, misdiagnoses a condition or illness, or delivers substandard care that does not meet the “accepted standard of care,” or the level of care or treatment that would be provided by another similarly trained professional in a similar situation, a wrongful death claim or lawsuit could be filed against all responsible parties.
- Construction Site Accidents: A shocking number of construction workers in Manhattan were injured or died while working on one of the many construction sites in the city. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report that while construction workers make up only 5% of the workforce in the Manhattan area, they account for 27% of the work-related injury deaths. In cases of construction site accident deaths, it must be proven that the construction company (or other entity) acted in a negligent manner, leading to the death of the individual, and that specific family members suffered significant losses due to the death of a loved one.
Under the wrongful death statute in New York, for a wrongful death claim to be successful, it must be proven that your loved one died due to the act of negligence. A comprehensive investigation into the facts in the case is a critical aspect of a successful wrongful death claim or lawsuit. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, when we take on a case, our actions will include gathering and preserving all relevant evidence, including police or medical reports, eyewitness testimony, expert witness testimony, to name only a few. The facts that must be fully established in a successful wrongful death claim or lawsuit include:
- Negligence: Evidence must establish that the defendant(s) acted in a negligent, careless, or reckless manner.
- Breach of Duty of Care: It must be established that the defendant breached the “duty of care,” the responsibility to act in a manner that a prudent, rational person would act when facing similar circumstances.
- Causation: It must be established that the breach of duty of care was the cause of the death of the individual.
- Damages: It must be established that the loss of life resulted in financial damages, such as the costs of medical care, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of future income, and personal losses, such as the protection, guidance, and support of the family member.
Under New York law, only specific individuals have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits can be brought by the following individuals:
- The spouse of the person who passed away.
- The child or children of the individual who died.
- The parent or parents of the deceased.
- The legal representative for the estate of the decedent.
The New York statute of limitations allows for two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim, with some exceptions. A claim is very likely to be denied if filed past the two year limit. It is imperative that the claim is filed as soon as possible to protect the right to seek justice for the consequences of an act of negligence, wrongdoing, or reckless behavior.
Three types of damages could be pursued in a wrongful death claim:
- Economic Damages: The financial losses resulting from the death of a loved one, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, and the loss of income associated with the death of the person.
- Non-Economic Damages: The conscious pain and suffering of the individual and fear of impending death experienced by your loved one.
- Punitive Damages: When the responsible party has committed an act of gross negligence, punitive damages may be pursued – damages intended to punish the party for committing the act that led to death.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, we are honored to have garnered a reputation for excellence in cases of wrongful death. We are personally dedicated to helping families who have lost a loved one through an act of negligence seek justice and full compensation, and allow them to move forward after the tragic loss of a family member.
Contact the Manhattan personal injury attorneys at WRSMH at (212) 986-7353 today to discuss a wrongful death claim.