Losing a loved one is a difficult experience, especially when the loss is caused by someone else breaking safety rules that could have potentially been avoided. 

If you have lost a family member or a loved one to wrongful death, you might be entitled to compensation. While nothing can make up for the death of someone you cared for, it is important to make sure your rights are protected under the law. 

Causes of Wrongful Death

 Incidents in which wrongful death occurs are always tragic. Often, wrongful death is caused by the choice of a person or corporation to break safety rules and thus violate the law. 

While, in some cases, responsibility for wrongful death can be easily attributed to a specific party, it is not always simple to determine why a wrongful death occurred. Many different factors can cause or contribute to the occurrence of wrongful death. 

The following are some of the most common causes of wrongful death in New York. 

Unintentional Poisoning

  • The leading cause of wrongful death in New York is accidental poisoning. It accounts for 64,795 cases of wrongful death a year. 
  • Unintentional poisoning is predominantly caused by the ingestion of legal and illegal drugs. Poisoning can occur due to accidental overdoses, wrongful prescription or dosing of medication, or unanticipated effects from prescribed medication. 
  • Other causes include exposures to pesticides or carbon monoxide. 

Motor Vehicle Crashes

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car and trucking accidents, are the second largest cause of accidental death in New York. They account for 40,231 wrongful death cases a year. 
  • While it may seem that motor vehicle accidents are not causes for wrongful death, such accidents do not always occur due to driver error. 
  •  Some causes of negligence when it comes to motor vehicle accidents include faulty vehicle equipment and lack of proper maintenance checks. 

Injuries from Falls

  •  Injuries from falls can be caused at unsafe workplaces or unsafe construction sites or due to infrastructure problems, including broken or uneven sidewalks, accumulated ice, cracked staircase steps, or defective guardrails. 
  • These accidents can affect individuals while they are at work or everyday pedestrians. 
  • While most slip and fall accidents are not fatal, they can be, depending on the surrounding environment and the victim’s physical health. 
  • Slip and fall accidents account for around 36,338 incidents of wrongful death a year. 

While the above three incidents account for most wrongful death cases, generally, there are two different types of wrongful death. 

Negligent Wrongful Death

  • The more common of the two types, negligent wrongful death, occurs when companies or authority figures make unintentional but harmful mistakes that lead to fatalities. 
  • Negligent wrongful deaths include car accidents, workplace accidents, accidental poisoning, and medical malpractice. 

Intentional Wrongful Death

  • While most cases are caused by negligence or unintentional wrongful death, some may be caused intentionally. 
  • A few examples of intentional wrongful death include fraud, misrepresentation, defamation, false imprisonment, and assault or battery. 

Regardless of the causes behind a wrongful death, an experienced can attorney can help you determine what parties should be held responsible for the loss of your loved one. 

Whether the death was caused unintentionally or intentionally, you deserve compensation from all involved parties. 

Wrongful Death and the Law

Because several different factors can contribute to the occurrence of wrongful death, it can be difficult to determine how responsible parties are involved. 

In some cases, it may also be unclear whether or not the death was wrongful and whether or not you are eligible to receive compensation for your loss. 

Simply stated, wrongful death occurs when a person or company breaks a safety rule resulting in the death of another person. In order to be compensated, you must be able to prove the wrongdoer is at fault. 

Proving Wrongful Death

To prove wrongful death, you and your lawyer have to consider the following elements: 

  • Safety rule: You and your lawyer must prove that the parties responsible for the death had a responsibility to follow a safety rule.

For example: There are safety rules of the road that you and your fellow drivers must follow. 

  • Breaking of a safety rule: After establishing the safety rule, a lawyer can help you prove that the responsible parties broke that rule, which resulted in the wrongful death. 

In a car wreck, your lawyer would have to prove that an opposing party was at fault for the crash and the damages that followed. 

  • Causation: A lawyer would have to prove that the safety rule violation caused the death of an individual.  
  • Damages: The damages in a wrongful death case in New York include the ability to recover for the deceased’s pain and suffering, economic loss, loss of parental guidance, income loss, loss of household services, fear of impending death, and pre-impact terror. 

Alongside proving wrongful death, a lawyer may help you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations on the incident ends, which is typically two years for wrongful death in New York. 

Why You Should Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney

Claims and lawsuits for compensation after a wrongful death occurs can be complicated. This is especially true because it is unlikely that the responsible parties will be willing to admit their role in causing the wrongful death. 

For this reason, you should hire an attorney immediately after the incident occurs to help you navigate the process. 

Here are some ways that a wrongful death attorney can help further your case

Has Knowledge of the Legal Process

While some people may choose to file lawsuits for compensation on their own, wrongful death cases are complicated. Unless you are a lawyer, you may not be familiar with all the legal implications of wrongful death cases. You may also be unaware of the benefits you are entitled to or the compensation you are eligible to receive. 

A lawyer who has experience with wrongful earth cases will know exactly what laws apply to your case. They will also be able to make sure all your rights remain intact through the process. 

Helps Gather and Secure Evidence

While some wrongful cases may be transparent in terms of the responsible party or person, some may require further investigation in attributing responsibility to a set individual or group of individuals. 

A wrongful death attorney has the resources and experience to collect evidence that links a responsible party to the accident and prove that a death resulted from wrongful unintentional or intentional causes. 

Helps Negotiates Settlement Deals

When you file your lawsuit, the opposing party will likely have an extensive legal team of their own. No party wants to admit responsibility for wrongful death and will argue against all evidence and offers proposed by your lawyer. 

An experienced wrongful death attorney has insight into dealing with opposing legal teams, as well as knowing when to negotiate a settlement deal that will be of most benefit to you. 

Provides Support

After the death of a loved one, you may not want to deal with the legalities of filing a lawsuit against responsible parties. Wrongful death cases can be very time and resource-consuming, leaving you fighting to further the process while mourning the death of a family member. 

Hiring a wrongful death attorney can help relieve pressure off you and your family. Wrongful death attorneys understand how important your case is and will do their best to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve while you manage the grieving process. 

How To Find the Best Wrongful Death Attorney for You

Finding an experienced lawyer can make a big difference in ensuring you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. 

Like finding any other personal injury attorney, you must be able to trust your lawyer and be confident in their dedication to your case. 

Here are a few things to consider when looking for a wrongful death attorney. 

Experience Is Key: Results Matter

  • An experienced lawyer with a history of successful settlements and verdicts will be most equipped to help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. 
  • Aside from general experience, you should find out whether or not the lawyer you are considering has dealt with wrongful death cases in the past and what outcomes they were able to achieve. 
  • While personal injury lawsuits can have similarities in proceedings, wrongful death cases can be more complex in regard to proving responsibility for the accident. 

Schedule a Consultation

Before you hire a lawyer to help you proceed with your wrongful death case, you should first schedule a consultation to better understand what services can be provided and what rights you are entitled to. 

At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C., you can schedule a free consultation with a lawyer to answer any questions you may have about your case, the rights or compensation you are eligible for. Call 1-800-966-4995 to learn more. 


Losing a loved one to wrongful death is a tragic, difficult experience. While no amount of money can replace a human life, the parties responsible for the incident owe you and your family compensation for your loss. 

When deciding whether a death is a wrongful one in the eyes of the law, the bottom line is determining whether it was a result of the action of an outside individual or party. 

After wrongful death has been proven, a link between responsible parties and the causes of the accident must be established. 

To establish this link, the evidence must show that a safety rule was broken by the responsible party and that said safety rule violation led to the death. 

Because proving wrongful death, as well as its causes, can be difficult, you should consider hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you file and further your case. 

When looking for a wrongful death attorney, make sure that the lawyer you hire is someone you can trust. You should also be confident that they know how important your case is and will work hard in helping secure the money and benefits you are entitled to.

You may also want to consider experience dealing with wrongful death cases, as well as the outcomes of these cases. 

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-800-966-4995 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what an experienced attorney can do for you.


Picture of America Poisoning Fact Sheet | CDC 

5 Top Benefits Of Hiring A Wrongful Death Attorney | Medicalopedia 

The Five Stages of Grief | Very Well Mind 

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