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Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

A wrongful death claim arises when a person dies as a result of the negligent, reckless, intentional, or otherwise wrongful act of another. A wrongful death claim is a civil action taken in order to collect damages relating to the death of a person caused by the wrongful act of another. The wrongful death may have caused by any number of accidents that may have led to a personal injury claim had the injured party not passed away due to the injury or illness. For instance, wrongful death claims may arise from motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, construction accidents, and dangerously defective products.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

In New York, a wrongful death claim is thought very much of as a personal action. The person most impacted by the wrongful death claim, however, has passed away. So, instead of the injured party, the deceased, bringing the action, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate brings a wrongful death claim. In fact, New York law authorizes only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate to bring a wrongful death claim.

The personal representative is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court. Often, this is a person named in the decedent’s will. In the event that the decedent did not have a valid will in place at the time of death, the Surrogate’s Court is tasked with selecting a personal representative. This is often a spouse, adult child, or other trusted and trustworthy friend or family member of the deceased.

The personal representative brings a wrongful death action on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Damages recovered in a wrongful death action go to the decedent’s estate and are eventually distributed to the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate or, in some cases, all or part of the recovery goes to satisfying outstanding debts of the estate or the deceased. Before recovering damages, however, the personal representative must be able to prove that the defendant acted wrongfully. It must also be proven that the wrongful act caused the death of the decedent. There must also have been surviving beneficiaries or dependents of the deceased and these survivors must have suffered financial harm as a result of the wrongful death.

In a wrongful death action, several types of damages may be pursued. Damages may include the final medical costs of the deceased that were incurred after the injury was sustained but prior to death. Damages may also include funeral expenses as well as the value of support and services survivors lost as a result of the decedent’s death. Furthermore, damages for pain and suffering may also be recovered. This pain and suffering, however, is that of the decedent which he or she suffered due to the injury prior to passing away.

New York Personal Injury Attorney

Have you lost a loved one due to the negligent or otherwise wrongful acts of another? The Law Office of Ryan Goldstein is here to provide you and your loved ones with trusted legal support in this very difficult time. Contact us today.


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