When an individual or entity causes the death of a person a civil cause of action for wrongful death may accrue which is separate from a possible criminal case which is brought by the local district attorney’s office. When a corporation, such as a tobacco company, causes a death, a civil wrongful death action may be the only recourse available. The burden of proof in civil cases is less than that in a criminal case. In civil A wrongful death cause of action may arise out of negligent, reckless, and/or intentional acts. Wrongful death may be the result of a motor vehicle accident, construction accident, defective product accident, exposure to hazardous conditions or substances, medical malpractice, and other types of accidents.
Since the deceased person cannot bring the lawsuit, a representative of the estate is appointed and is authorized to file a lawsuit against the responsible party on the decedent’s behalf. The goal is to recover monetary compensation for survivors and beneficiaries after the death. Survivors and beneficiaries that may recover may include a widow, widower, children, parents, and other heirs. A wrongful death case can result in the recovery of medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, expected inheritance, and other types of compensation. The amount of compensation is dependent upon age, life expectancy, education, and earnings of the decedent.
Though dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult and sensitive process, it is important to promptly consider and investigate a possible wrongful death. The statute of limitations in New York to commence a wrongful death case is usually two years from the date of the death. If a lawsuit is not started by the time the applicable limit expires, the ability to start a lawsuit could be completely barred forever.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases Include: