Bronx Wrongful Death Attorney
Unexpectedly losing a loved one is a tragic experience that may bring with it an overwhelming amount of pain and grief. In addition to the emotional distress that accompanies such a loss, it can also result in an increased financial burden for surviving family members in many cases. While no amount of money will bring back your deceased loved one, you may still hold accountable those individuals responsible for the death.
If your loved one died as a result of negligence or intentional harm, you may seek compensation to help reduce your financial burden. According to New York law, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of your loved one’s death. Call the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond, located in the Bronx, at (718) 588-2000, or contact Mr. Diamond online, to discuss the details of your case today.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when a victim dies because of another’s wrongful or negligent act. Under New York law, to file a wrongful death claim, the law would have entitled the victim to file a personal injury claim and collect damages had the victim survived. New York, unlike many other states, does not permit surviving family members to file wrongful death claims unless they are acting as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Only a personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death claim.
Who Bears Responsibility?
A wide range of wrongful or negligent acts can lead to a wrongful death. Some common examples include:
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice, including pharmaceutical errors, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and surgical errors
- Slips and falls
- Motor vehicle accidents involving an intoxicated driver
- Motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted or fatigued driver
What Damages Can the Estate Recover After a Wrongful Death?
In New York, the amount of total damages depends on what the court or jury determines is fair and just. New York law prohibits the recovery of non-economic damages for family members in wrongful death claims, such as loss of consortium, but does allow recovery for pecuniary losses. These losses include the financial support and services that the deceased would have provided surviving family members, the nurturing, training, guidance, and education that a child would have received had the victim survived, and the domestic duties that the decedent performed at home.
Common damages recovered in New York wrongful death claims include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses related to the victim’s injury that led to death, including ambulance services, hospitalization, radiology, and nursing services
- Lost wages and benefits until the time of death
- Lost inheritances
- Value of support and services provided by the deceased
In cases where intentional harm or gross negligence caused the wrongful death, the court may award punitive damages to the estate; however, courts rarely award punitive damages in wrongful death cases.
Liable Parties May Fight Your Claim
Regardless of the specific circumstances, defendants in wrongful death cases frequently attempt to avoid paying compensation. While New York law does provide a decedent’s estate with the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members, New York follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which may alter the amount of damages awarded by a court.
In pure comparative negligence jurisdictions, courts assign a percentage of blame to each party. If the court finds that the decedent contributed to the injury that led to the death, the court will reduce the damages award by that percentage. For example, if your loved one died in an accident caused by another driver who ran a red light, but your loved one was distracted, the court may determine that your loved one was 25 percent responsible for the accident. In this scenario, assuming the court determined that damages amounted to $100,000, the court would reduce this amount to $75,000.
Defense attorneys in wrongful death claims attempt to avoid responsibility and shift the blame to the deceased in the following ways:
- In motor vehicle accidents, the defense may claim that the deceased was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication. The defense may also claim that the victim was driving recklessly or violating other traffic laws.
- In the case of on-the-job accidents, the victim’s employer may claim that the victim improperly performed the job or did not follow protocol.
- When accidents happen at other residences or businesses, property owners may claim that the victim trespassed.
- When defective products lead to a wrongful death, the manufacturer or retailer may suggest that the victim used the product improperly, or modified the product after purchasing it, causing the deadly defect.
Oftentimes, these attacks on your loved one’s behavior can make coping with your loss even more difficult. An experienced wrongful death attorney is familiar with these tactics, and will fight to protect the rights of you and your family. Let your attorney worry about legal strategy while you concentrate on recovering from your loss.
If Someone You Loved Died in a Preventable Accident, Call Ivan M. Diamond
Most attorneys offer free consultations to discuss the merits of your case. These conversations give you an opportunity to share the details surrounding the death of your loved one, so that your lawyer can determine whether the decedent’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Most wrongful death cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay anything upfront; your lawyer will recover attorney’s fees out of any settlement or verdict secured for the estate.
If your loved one died due to negligence or intentional harm, an experienced wrongful death attorney will help you navigate the legal system, handle the details of your case, and work to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Call the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond, located in the Bronx, at (718) 588-2000, or contact Mr. Diamond online, to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced wrongful death attorney today.
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The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond888 Grand Concourse #1L Bronx, NY 10451 Phone: (718) 588-2000 Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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