Each state in the country has enacted some form of wrongful death statute
and New York is no exception. Under New York law, if someone causes the
death of another due to recklessness or negligence, the decedent’s
surviving family members are entitled to damages through what is called
a “wrongful death lawsuit.”
Section 5-4.1 of the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Code, the following five elements
must be proven in order to establish a wrongful death claim:
- Someone died.
- The death was directly caused by the defendant’s wrongful conduct.
- If the deceased had lived, he or she could have filed a personal injury
lawsuit against the defendant.
- The decedent left behind surviving family members who suffered a loss because
of the wrongful death.
- There are damages that can be recovered by the decedent’s estate.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in NY?
In New York, wrongful death claims must be filed by the personal representative
of the decedent’s estate. While some states allow family members
to file wrongful death lawsuits themselves, that is not the case in New
York unless the family member is also the personal representative of the
However, when the personal representative files a wrongful death lawsuit,
it is on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family members. This
means that any damages collected go towards the decedent’s surviving
family members, such as their spouse and children.
Wrongful death damages cover the following types of losses:
- Funeral expenses,
- Burial expenses,
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s death,
- The decedent’s lost income,
- Any lost inheritance suffered by the decedent’s children,
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death, and
- Other death-related losses suffered by the family.
Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim must be filed within the “statute of limitations,”
which is the time limit or deadline for filing such claims. In New York,
the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is
two years from the date of the decedent’s death. Under this rule, people are
barred from filing
wrongful death claims if the two-year deadline expires.
Need to file a wrongful death claim on Long Island?
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