New York Wrongful Death Information
Provided by a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In New York State wrongful death is a legal cause of action for the pecuniary loss sustained by the family members of the person who died as the result of someone else’s negligence.
What this means is that when a person dies as a result of negligence, whether by medical malpractice, a fall, a motor vehicle or construction accident, or some other form of negligence, the representative of the deceased person’s estate can a bring a lawsuit against the person or entity that caused the death to recover the monetary loss sustained by members of the deceased person’s family.
For example, if a young father or mother who is supporting his or her spouse and children is negligently killed, a wrongful death action could be instituted to recover the loss of income and support to the family. This would include lost financial support as well as love and guidance to the children and a monetary award to compensate the family for the services the decedent provided to the family, such as, household repairs, maintenance of automobiles, mowing the lawn, shopping, cooking, etc. While not true everywhere, New York State law does not allow any financial recovery for the family’s emotional pain caused by death of its loved one.
Wrongful death is a claim in tort against a person who can be held liable for a death. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives. Unlike criminal law, private parties may bring the suit. The defendant has fewer due process and Constitutional protections such as immunity or the right to refuse to give testimony. The standard of proof is typically by a “preponderance of the evidence,” as opposed to “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For all the above reasons, it is often easier for a family to seek retribution against someone for wrongful death in tort than pursuing a criminal law conviction. It should be noted, however that the two actions are not mutually exclusive; a person may be prosecuted criminally for causing a person’s death (whether in the form of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or some other theory) and that person can also be sued civilly in a wrongful death action.
When a wrongful act such as negligence results in the death of a person, the family who has lost the love, companionship, guidance and support of the deceased may file a wrongful death action against the party or parties who caused the death. New York medical malpractice attorney Walter G. Alton, Jr. is experienced in understanding the complex and specific nature of a wrongful death claim and can compassionately deal with the family while assertively pursuing an appropriate recovery for the next of kin in regard to this very specialized cause of action. If a family member has been a victim of wrongful death, contact New York medical malpractice lawyer Walter G. Alton, Jr., Esq.. to review your legal rights under wrongful death law.