How To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In New York

Wrongful death lawsuits are an effective way of handling the economic aftermath of an unexpected death. Lost wages, pain and suffering, and a number of other factors can all be considered when determining how much money will be awarded and whether the suit will be successful at all. However, many states have different (and sometimes even conflicting) laws about how one should file a personal death lawsuit. Here is an overview of how wrongful death lawsuits work in New York:

Who can file?

In New York, the only person that can file a wrongful death lawsuit is an individual known as the personal representative of the deceased. The personal representative is also responsible for overseeing the estate of the deceased and executing their will. Thankfully, the personal representative can seek damages on behalf of everyone that suffered due to the wrongful death. If you are not the personal representative, then you will need to speak to them in order to make sure that your interests are considered in the wrongful death lawsuit.

What is the statute of limitations?

In almost all situations, 2 years is the limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In some states, this limit may be extended in the case of a minor filing a lawsuit upon reaching adulthood. New York does not allow this, which means that someone will need someone to file the lawsuit on behalf of the minor within 2 years. This strict limit closely relates to the role of the personal representative in New York. Since a minor cannot be appointed the personal representative of the deceased, they wouldn't be able to file a lawsuit upon reaching adulthood anyway.

What kinds of damages can be pursued?

Some states have strict limits on what kinds of damages can actually be listed in a wrongful death lawsuit. In New York, any economic value can be considered. Lost wages, medical costs, funeral expenses, and basically everything that is easily associated with a monetary value can be claimed as damages. However, non-economic damages are usually not permitted. This means that pain and suffering and other forms of emotional damage may not be pursued. 

Does New York have damage limits?

New York does not have a limit on the amount of financial compensation that may be pursued. You can ask for as much money as you want, although asking for an excessive amount may drastically reduce the chances of your case being successful.

For assistance, talk to a wrongful death attorney.