Most wrongful death cases are filed after one person dies as in an accident as a result of the negligence of somebody else. Some causes of wrongful death cases might involve premises liability, medical negligence or product liability. Any person, company or governmental entity can be the target of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Can two cases be brought at the same time?
Sometimes death cases end up in the criminal courts to be prosecuted, but as personal injury lawyers, we’re able to bring a civil wrongful death lawsuit at the same time that a criminal case is pending. That’s because there’s a big difference in the burden of proof between a criminal murder or homicide case and a civil wrongful death case.

What are the burdens of proof in the two cases?
In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases have a lower burden of proof. In a civil wrongful death case, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. That means that the version of events of the person bringing the wrongful death case is more likely true than not true. That burden is significantly lower than beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can somebody be found not guilty in a criminal case but guilty in a civil case?
A person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination thereof can be found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) in the criminal courts. If that person causes an accident that results in the death of somebody else, he or she can be found guilty of wrongful death in the civil courts. Even if the DUI case is dismissed, or the driver was found guilty of driving under the influence, he or she can still be found guilty of causing a wrongful death. That’s because of the lower burden of proof in the civil courts.

Who can bring a wrongful death case in New York?
As opposed to other states, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is allowed to bring a wrongful death action in New York. A family member is allowed to bring the action so long as he or she has been appointed the estate’s personal representative.

What types of damages can be pursued in a New York wrongful death case?
Along with the shock and anxiety of unexpectedly losing a loved one, most families become financially distressed immediately. Our objective as personal injury attorneys is to maximize the damages that a family might receive from a wrongful death case. Those damages could consist of:

Earnings and benefits lost between the date of final injury and date of death

Earnings and benefits reasonably expected to be gained after the date of death

Medical bills between the date of injury and date of death

Pain and suffering endured by the deceased between the date of the accident and date of death

The value of the support, services and guidance that would have been provided to the decedent’s surviving children

How long do I have to file a New York wrongful death case?
Any wrongful death lawsuit in New York is required to be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. There are very few exceptions to this rule. Failure to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the time period set by law can result in the case being dismissed.

Our personal injury attorneys are experienced, aggressive and successful. You don’t need a penny to retain us either. That’s because no legal fees are due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Contact us as soon as possible after a wrongful death for a free consultation and case evaluation.