- August 19, 2016
As recently reported on July 20, 2016, a driver was found guilty of second-degree murder in connection with his June 2013 wild driving spree in the East Village area of Manhattan. The driver, who was high on methamphetamines and PCP at the time, had barreled down Second Avenue at more than 80 mph, according to some witnesses, before his vehicle jumped a curb and crashed into a local deli. His car also struck three persons, causing grave injuries to one of them. That innocent pedestrian languished for six months in the hospital before he died. The impaired driver walked away from the wreck virtually unscathed.
Wrongful Death: The Law’s Requirement That One Face the Financial Consequences for Irresponsible Acts
As with all other states, New York law provides for a special type of lawsuit when someone has died as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another individual. Recognize that the situation need not be as serious as June 2013 incident that led to the murder conviction. The civil action – for wrongful death – does, however, have several important principles that must be followed in order to collect from the person (and his or her insurance company) causing the death. Those principles include:
Wrongful Death Action Must Be Filed by Personal Representative of Estate
Particularly when the deceased is a young person, with few, if any, financial assets, this important requirement can be overlooked. It isn’t enough that a family member file the wrongful death action; the person filing the lawsuit must also have qualified as the personal representative in Surrogate’s Court.
Two Types of Damages Are Recoverable
Generally speaking, two types of damages may be recovered in a wrongful death action.
- First, the personal representative may recover for the economic loss that was caused by the deceased’s untimely death. Included within this category are funeral expenses, lost wages, and medical expenses related to the fatal injury, if any. The deceased’s children or other dependents may recover additional amounts for their loss of parental nurturing, guidance, and education. Generally speaking, wrongful death damages in the case of a high earner, in the prime of his or her life, will generally be much larger than for a very young or very old victim, or someone who was disabled.
- Second, the personal representative may recover for the conscious pain and suffering of the deceased.
Other Important Matters
The survivors and family members may not recover for their own grief and suffering. Wrongful death actions must generally be filed within two years from the date of death. This time limit is a strict one; time works against, not in favor, of a claim.
Knowledgeable & Caring Legal Counsel is Important to Wrongful Death Recovery
Because so much is at stake in a typical wrongful death action, the insurance company of the party at fault will usually fight rigorously. The insurer may even string you along, hoping that the two-year statute of limitations will expire before the estate takes action. A successful wrongful death case usually requires representation by a law firm with substantial resources. Experts may need to be retained to prove the measure of damages. The law firm of Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, LLP has the skill – and the compassion – to represent you diligently. When clients hire Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, they hire an entire team, not just one attorney. We have versatile team of attorneys who work together to attack cases from every angle. We pool all of our resources to ensure our clients get their ideal outcome. Make the correct choice. Call us at (866) 290-6929 or complete our online form.