Frekhtman & Associates handle wrongful death lawsuits in the Bronx with the utmost compassion and zealous advocacy. Our passion is helping families of innocent people killed due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another offending party. One of the main things our lawyers strive to accomplish is to be there for our clients, to listen, and to work with them in a difficult time to help them reclaim their own lives after a tragic accident and loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits involve those accidents or mishaps which cause the death of an individual. Wrongful death can take place due to a variety of personal injury accidents: motor vehicle, construction accident, truck accident, medical malpractice, drunk driving motor vehicle crash, nursing home abuse, product liability, car accidents, pedestrian accident, criminal matters and many others. The responsible party or defendant in these types of cases can be property owners, general contractors, owners and operators of motor vehicles, as well as other offending companies that need to be held accountable. A wrongful death lawsuit differs from a personal injury claim and personal injury lawsuit in many ways.
In New York, the wrongful death statute is codified in the Estate Powers & Trusts Law (EPTL) and is unfortunately a restrictive law that only allows surviving family members to obtain financial losses suffered as a result of the death. The law is very antiquated and old based on pecuniary loss which can limit recovery in a wrongful death case.
Our firm has offices in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan (New York County). We also litigate cases in Suffolk, Nassau, Staten Island, Orange County, and upstate New York. We handle wrongful death cases and personal injury cases throughout the Metro New York City area as well as throughout all of New York State. Our firm has always only represented injury victims and families and have never worked for the insurance defense industry. It is very important for an experienced wrongful death lawyer to protect your legal rights. The best way to do this is to prepare each case for trial and jury verdict.
How Does the Wrongful Death Law Work in NY?
As per New York law, the distributees or relatives that the deceased leaves behind after his or her death are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim via a legal action which consists of the following categories of damages to which they may be entitled:
Loss of fair expectancy of future support or voluntary assistance
Loss of assistance in the home
Loss of parental guidance, care, and support; nurturing, training, and education the decedent would have provided to surviving family had the death not occurred
Loss of Grandparental care, guidance, support
Loss of probable inheritance
Reasonable funeral expenditures paid by distributees can be reimbursed as compensatory money damages
Reasonable medical costs borne on behalf of the decedent
Before filing the lawsuit in a wrongful death action, a petition for letters of administration must be filed by surviving family member who wishes to be appointed administrator of the Estate of the deceased. This individual then serves as the personal representative and plaintiff in the wrongful death litigation.
Losing a family member or loved one can be devastating in any circumstance, but the impact can be greater if your loved one’s death is sudden or due to someone else’s negligence. Surviving family members often struggle to pay for their loved one’s final expenses and must suddenly compensate for a loss in income. You should be able to grieve and heal, but instead you’re trying to make ends meet because someone else was reckless or careless.
When another person’s negligence leads to a loved one’s death, this forms the basis of a wrongful death suit. These special lawsuits help surviving members of a family compensate for the financial and emotional costs of losing a loved one. The personal injury lawyers at Frekhtman & Associates have been helping New York families file wrongful death suits against negligent parties for decades.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Suit
A wrongful death suit provides an important avenue of recourse for families, providing financial relief at a time when hope is hard to find. New York wrongful death law allows families to gain a few different types of compensation, including:
Compensation for economic damages. This may include reimbursement for the medical costs of a final illness or injury, expenses from the funeral and burial, and loss of earning capacity or income. These damages are intended to lift the financial burden of the deceased person placed upon the surviving children, surviving spouse, and other family members.
Compensation for intangible losses. This category of losses include intangible damages like loss of partnership, loss in consortium or services, loss of parental guidance.
Conscious pain and suffering prior to death
Fear of impending death in the moments before the fatal accident; must be a knowing or understanding that death is imminent as per the precedents in New York State
Emotional distress for immediate family members who were in the “zone of danger” and witnessed the fatal accident take place
In certain instances, victims of negligence may be able to pursue “punitive damages” Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the family of the deceased person but to punish the defendants for wrongful conduct. The courts reserve these for instances of gross negligence. These awards act as civil punishment to the person responsible for the wrongful death. it is important to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney for a free case evaluation to help explain all your legal options, legal rights, on the road to full compensation against the responsible party.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in the Bronx ?
Not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. In fact, the state of New York is unique in that the only person who can file a wrongful death claim is the “personal representative” or executor of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, the deceased’s estate plan names the executor or personal representative; in others, the courts will appoint an executor or personal representative for the deceased person. Unlike many other states, New York law does not allow a surviving family member to file a claim – unless that family member is also the executor of the deceased’s estate.
The wrongful death claim, however, does seek damages for losses suffered by the deceased’s survivors, including beneficiaries, heirs, and more. If a jury awards damages in a wrongful death claim, the personal representative essentially creates a trust for the surviving family members.
How are the Lawyer’s Fees Paid in a Wrongful Death Case ?
There is no upfront payment of legal fees. All legal fees are paid only after recovery of money for the surviving family members. The amount is on a contingency fee basis set by the NY courts which are usually 33.3% for negligence and a sliding scale for medical malpractice.
Starting a Wrongful Death Claim
If you lost a loved one in any accident in which someone else is to blame, you may have grounds for a wrongful death suit. Your next course of action should be to contact the wrongful death attorneys at Frekhtman & Associates. Nothing can ever relieve the pain of losing a loved one, but surviving family members benefit from the financial security and peace of mind a wrongful death claim can bring. To schedule a free consultation and learn more, please contact us. We hire top experts and build the strongest case for the maximum possible damages award under NY law.
What to Do If You’ve Suffered a Wrongful Death in New York City
Losing a loved one is perhaps the most painful event anyone can go through no matter the cause. In the event of a preventable accident, the sense of loss in knowing that your loved one passed away before their time can be overwhelming. On top of that pain is the added stress of medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages for those dependent on the victim for financial support.
Wrongful Death Affects Thousands in New York Alone
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in New York in 2015 – the most recent year for which numbers are available – there were over 1,121 deaths from automobile crashes alone. A recent story in US News and World Report shows that medical malpractice is now the third leading cause of death in the nation. In the state of New York, there were 2,890 reports of medical malpractice in 2016. The US Dept. of Labor reports that in 2015 nationwide fatal workplace injuries were at their highest rate since 2008.
The Trauma of Loss
With your loved one gone, you likely face a mountain of worries. Who will cover medical expenses incurred during their final days? How will you pay for funeral expenses? How will you replace the lost wages your loved one provided? The stress and anxiety you feel may well contribute to illness and problems of your own. You need an attorney willing to step up and help you carry the burdens at this time. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in the Bronx can help build the strongest legal case possible under New York State law.
What Do I Do Now?
After the experience of the death of a loved you may be feeling at a loss about what to do next? The attorneys at Frekhtman & Associates can help you begin to answer that question. Recognized by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of America’s top 100 trial lawyers, our attorneys have the experience and dedication to work for an equitable settlement in your situation. We’ve offered consolation and sound legal advice to many in your situation, as they try to move on without their loved one. We’ll be right at your side throughout the process, handling the legal complexities so that you can focus on your emotional recovery.
Your attorney will file your claim in a timely manner according to New York law and before the statute of limitations deadline. He or she will identify and track down witnesses and even bring in experts to testify in your case. They will estimate the financial losses you incur from your loved one’s death. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company to ensure your claim gets the attention it deserves and that the negligent or at-fault party compensates you for this terrible loss.
Should your case require going to court to win a fair settlement, your attorney will be ready to handle the complex paperwork and aggressively represent your best interests in court.
You may feel like curling up in a ball and hiding from the world right, but securing your future and that of your family means acting now. Nothing can truly make up for the loss of your loved ones, but the wrongful death attorneys of Frekhtman & Associates can work to ensure you have a more secure financial future.