Coping with the death of a loved one is a painful experience, and even more so when another person’s reckless, willful or negligent conduct caused or contributed to the death. In these situations, however, it may be possible to recover compensation by pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The law office of Michael LoGiudice is the premier personal injury firm serving clients in the greater New York area. Because wrongful death claims involve a number of legal complexities, it helps to have a highly skilled attorney to rely on. Our guiding principle is to offer families knowledge and compassion and help them find the justice they deserve.
What is wrongful death in New York?
There are a number of elements involved in a wrongful death claim. First, it is necessary to establish that the defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to the death. In addition, the negligent conduct must be the basis for a cause of action that could have been pursued had the death not occurred. Finally, there must also be one or more survivors who have suffered a loss due to the death, as well as damages that can be recovered by the deceased’s estate.
Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit?
Although other states allow surviving family members to bring wrongful death claims, in New York the person who can do so is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. However, it is possible to pursue damages for losses suffered by the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries, as well as the estate. While each case is unique, damages that can recovered include:
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Reasonable medical expenses arising from the decedent’s injury or illness
- The decedent’s pain and suffering
- The value of support and services the decedent provided to the family
- The value of parental care and guidance for surviving minor children
- Any inheritance that surviving children may have lost
- Funeral and burial expenses
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Although a variety of circumstances can be the basis for a wrongful death case, some of the most common include:
- Automobile Accidents – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 35,000 people die in automobile accidents in the U.S. each year. These accidents are often the result of distracted driving, speeding and other traffic violations, driving under the influence and mechanical defects. Over our many years of practice, we have successfully brought lawsuits against negligent motorists, government agencies and automobile manufacturers.
- Commercial Truck Accidents – Collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles are often deadly due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. However, trucking companies have a responsibility to properly maintain their vehicles and to hire and train qualified truckers. In addition, state and federal truck safety rules that limit the amount of time truckers are allowed to drive and require them to take regular rest breaks. A trucking company or truck driver that fails to abide by these and other safety laws can be held liable for a fatal accident.
- Medical Malpractice – All medical professionals have a duty to provide the appropriate standard of care, however breaches of this duty can cause injuries or death. Medical malpractice lawsuits often arise from birth injuries, surgical errors, prescription errors, anesthesia errors, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, defective medical equipment and devices, and nursing home abuse and neglect. When a death is caused by the incompetence or negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical professional, it is possible to recover damages.
- Workplace Accident – Dangerous environments such as construction sites and manufacturing plants exposes workers to all types of hazards including falls, burns, explosions, harmful chemicals and other dangerous substances. While certain types of work are inherently dangerous, fatal on the job accidents are often the result of negligence which is the basis for a wrongful death claim.
- Product Liability – Manufacturers have an obligation to ensure that the products they provide to the public are safe. Manufacturers, distributors, retailers and product designers can be held accountable for making or selling dangerous products, or failing to warn the public about the risks associated with, or proper use of, a product.
- Criminal Activity – Assault, homicide, and deaths that occur during the commission of a crime often lead to criminal proceedings. Regardless of whether the person accused of a crime is convicted, however, it is still possible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit because the burden of proof in a civil claim is lower than in a criminal case.
Serving the Community with Dignity and Compassion
The law office of Michael LoGiudice has the skills and resources that are needed to pursue a successful wrongful death claim. We routinely collaborate with a network of investigators and medical and financial experts to demonstrate how the defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to the death and the financial losses the victim’s survivors have suffered.
We offer dignity and compassion to families who are coping with grief and anger, and help them find justice. Although no amount of money can ever replace a lost loved one, we are committed to holding responsible parties accountable and helping our clients find peace of mind.
The law office of Michael LoGiudice serves clients in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.