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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Ask A New York Wrongful Death Lawyer: How Do Claims and Damages Work in New York State?

Updated: Mar 21

New York Wrongful Death Lawyer

New York Wrongful Death Lawyer - Losing a loved one is always devastating. When someone's death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another person or entity, the grief and sense of injustice are compounded. New York law provides a path for surviving family members to pursue a wrongful death claim, seeking compensation for the losses they have endured. But calculating damages in a wrongful death case is incredibly complex, making the guidance of an experienced attorney invaluable.

What Are Pecuniary Losses In A Wrongful Death Case?

Pecuniary losses refer to the tangible financial contributions the deceased person made to their family. These damages include:

  • Lost Wages: The income the deceased person would likely have earned over the course of their working life. This is calculated based on factors such as their age, health, education level, occupation, and earnings history. A wrongful death case may involve expert testimony from an economist to assess potential future earnings and account for factors like inflation and career progression.

  • Lost Benefits: The value of benefits such as health insurance, pension plans, and other employer-provided benefits are also considered pecuniary losses.

  • Lost Inheritance: When a person's life is cut short, they are no longer able to accumulate assets to pass on to their loved ones. The reduction in the potential inheritance that surviving family members would have received is factored into wrongful death damages.

  • Medical Expenses: Any medical care costs incurred due to the injury that led to the person's death, including hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation are compensable.

  • Funeral Expenses: The costs of the deceased's funeral, burial, or cremation services fall under pecuniary damages.

New York Wrongful Death Case Example: A wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of a 35-year-old construction worker survived by his spouse and two young children. He was a skilled electrician earning a high salary with potential for continued growth within the industry. The family's attorney will need to compile evidence of his wages, career trajectory, the value of his benefits, and the expected costs of childrearing to establish the extent of pecuniary losses.

Conscious Pain and Suffering In A Wrongful Death Claim - New York

If the deceased person endured a period of conscious pain and suffering between the act that caused their death and their passing, their estate may be eligible for damages. Conscious pain and suffering damages can encompass:

  • Physical Pain: The bodily pain experienced by the person from the moment of injury until their death.

  • Mental Anguish: This includes fear, terror, and the emotional suffering caused by the knowledge of impending death.

Establishing damages for conscious pain and suffering can be difficult, as it involves quantifying inherently subjective experiences. Evidence may include testimony from witnesses who were present at the time of the fatal injury, medical records documenting the treatment of the deceased, and even statements made by the victim themselves that convey their suffering.

New York's Unique Limitations

New York is one of the few states that does not allow surviving family members to recover damages for their own emotional suffering or loss of companionship in a wrongful death case. This can be a significant source of frustration for loved ones left behind, who feel the law fails to fully acknowledge the depth of their loss.

However, there's potential for change. The Grieving Families Act, currently being considered in the New York legislature, would amend the state's wrongful death statute to allow close family members (spouses, children, and parents) to recover damages for their emotional distress.

Why You Should Consider Hiring A New York Wrongful Death Lawyer

Navigating a wrongful death claim is emotionally fraught and legally complex. An experienced personal injury attorney plays a critical role in:

  • Thoroughly Investigating the Case: An attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and determine all potentially liable parties. In complex cases like medical malpractice or product liability, they may consult expert witnesses to establish negligence.

  • Accurately Calculating Damages: An attorney, often working with financial or medical experts, will put a realistic value on both economic and non-economic losses, ensuring the claim fully accounts for the impact of the death.

  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies will aggressively fight to minimize the payout in a wrongful death claim. An attorney levels the playing field, advocating for the family's right to full and fair compensation.

  • Litigating if Necessary: If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney will take the case to trial, representing the family's interests in court.

Serious injuries can have a devastating impact on various aspects of life, including earning potential, relationships, accessibility, mental health, and family caregivers. However, the impact of wrongful death can be even more profound. As Brett Leitner, Senior Partner of Leitner Varughese Warywoda, notes:

"Wrongful death damages in New York State can compensate the surviving family members for the loss of support, both financial and emotional, that they would have received had their loved one not died."

Leitner's insight highlights the importance of securing comprehensive compensation for the bereaved families who have suffered such a loss.

In cases of wrongful death, it is crucial to seek legal support from experienced professionals who can navigate the complexities of the legal system. The process of securing wrongful death damages requires attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the legal framework. As Leitner explains:

"Wrongful death cases require an understanding of the relevant law, including the wrongful death statute and the particular rules and procedures governing such cases in New York State."

At Leitner Varughese Warywoda, we understand the gravity of wrongful death cases and provide comprehensive legal support to help families secure the compensation they deserve. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive adequate compensation for the loss they have suffered.

Aside from financial compensation, wrongful death proceedings can provide the bereaved families with a sense of closure and justice. It can also highlight the need for reforms in safety regulations and other measures to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

In conclusion, the impact of wrongful death on families and communities cannot be overstated. It is crucial to seek legal support to secure comprehensive compensation and seek justice for the bereaved families. Our team at Leitner Varughese Warywoda is committed to providing compassionate, expert legal services to help families navigate this difficult time.

Hire A New York Wrongful Death Attorney

Need a wrongful death attorney in New York? Get answers to your legal questions and the aggressive legal representation you need - Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda for a free consultation.

email: | voice call: (212) 671-1110 | text message: (631) 886-4260


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