If your family has recently been impacted by the tragedy of a wrongful death, our hearts go out to you. While there is no way to bring your loved one back, there is a way to hold the party responsible for their death liable for the pain, suffering, and financial damages they’ve caused your family.

The experienced New York wrongful death attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are here to help you and your family in your time of need. Call us now at 516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation. It will be our honor and privilege to listen to you first, and next get you results.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Some deaths aren’t avoidable, like dying from old age. Other deaths that occur prematurely can sometimes be deemed wrongful, particularly when they result from a series of avoidable circumstances.

A wrongful death is a death that could have reasonably been prevented if the responsible party had acted appropriately. Wrongful deaths are usually the result of mistakes or oversights that lead to tragic consequences that should have been foreseeable. A wrongful death claim can arise in various circumstances, such as medical malpractice, car accidents, or workplace incidents, where negligence or intentional harm led to the untimely death of an individual.

How Is Wrongful Death Different From A Crime?

Wrongful death isn’t always different from a crime, but it can be. If someone caused the death of another person while they were breaking the law, like by driving and driving or assaulting the other person, they can be charged with a crime. You can file a wrongful death claim against someone whether or not they’re convicted of the crime.

In many cases, a wrongful death suit is a way to hold someone accountable for causing a death when they aren’t deemed criminally liable for that death. A doctor engaging in malpractice, an employer falling behind on risk management or safety standards, or a business that failed to fix a clear hazard could all be held liable in a wrongful death suit if their actions (or inactions) directly contributed to the loss of life.

What Are The Most Common Types of Wrongful Deaths?

There are many types of wrongful deaths, but the most common causes for filing a wrongful death claim are usually similar to the most common personal injury cases. The only exception is that the victim tragically lost their life.

Car Crashes

Car crash fatalities can be considered wrongful death in any scenario where the person driving the vehicle responsible for causing the crash survives, and another person involved in the crash does not. A car crash death can still be a wrongful death, even if the person responsible for the crash isn’t found criminally liable for their actions. In such cases, a civil wrongful death claim can provide a legal avenue for the family of the deceased to seek compensation for their loss and hold the responsible party accountable.

Product Liability

Manufacturing errors, design oversight, or improper testing can have serious product liability consequences. Dangerous tools or equipment, contaminated food, and unsafe medicines or supplements and lead to the death of another person. When such defects result in fatalities, the responsible parties can be held liable for wrongful death, allowing the deceased’s family to seek legal recourse for their loss.

Work Accidents

Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. Construction workers, factory workers, and heavy machinery operators risk their safety every day. Although these industries are highly regulated, oversights and failure to follow safety protocol can lead to workplace wrongful deaths. In these cases, seeking legal advice can help determine if a wrongful death claim is appropriate to hold negligent parties accountable and secure damages for the family left behind.

Medical Malpractice

Doctors and surgeons have a high level of responsibility. Patients trust their medical care providers with their lives every day, and it’s important that care providers follow the latest protocols for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating their patients. Failure to do so can lead to medical malpractice that results in a patient’s preventable death.

Wrongful death can also occur as a result of criminal activity. If charges were filed against someone relating to the death of another person, you may be able to file a wrongful death case against them even if they weren’t found guilty of the death by the court.

What Can You Claim In a Wrongful Death Suit?

What you can sue for in a wrongful death suit depends on the circumstances of the wrongful death. You may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship (if your significant other dies), and lost prospect of inheritance (like a pension or a retirement plan that would have become available), among other possibilities.

The amount of damages you can be awarded depends on the circumstances, the age of the person who died, and the strength of your case. Wrongful death is a serious claim, and if a case is argued effectively, it usually results in a substantial payout to the victim’s family.

Corporations and insurance companies don’t want to part with such a large sum of money, and they will fight aggressively to deny their liability in your wrongful death suit. You need the help of a highly experienced attorney who is willing to do all that it takes to fight — and win! — for you.

Contact the skilled New York State wrongful death attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers by dialing 516-342-2200 or scheduling your free consultation online ASAP. Remember, it’s important to begin building a case before the other party starts preparing their defense. Act now!

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?

New York allows the spouse, parents, children (including legally adopted children), and anyone designated to represent an estate to sue for wrongful death. You cannot sue for wrongful death as a distant relative or a non-married significant other unless you also happen to be the representative of the deceased’s estate.

If the person who passed had no spouse, children, or parents, their grandparents or siblings may be able to collect compensation from the state. Their surviving family members (even if they aren’t considered immediate family members) are responsible for the deceased’s estate, which means they’re entitled to make claims or accept compensation from that estate.

The person suing for wrongful death has the right to sue for wrongful death if they can prove that the person who died would be able to file a claim (like for personal injury or malpractice) if they had survived and that the person’s death caused financial damages.

How Long Do You Have To File A Wrongful Death Claim?

In most cases, New York State law places a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. And as building and arguing a successful wrongful death case can take some time, it’s important to act without delay.

There may be rare circumstances in which you can file a wrongful death claim based on other findings, like evidence that a certain medicine or product was dangerous. If you want to know more about a unique circumstance that led to a wrongful death, it’s best to call a seasoned attorney and ask as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one wishes to pursue a wrongful death claim, you should contact the award-winning attorneys of Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 right away. Wrongful death claims are serious, and you need to act as soon as possible to recover to the fullest extent of the law.

How Long Does A Wrongful Death Case Take?

A wrongful death case can take years to conclude. It’s difficult to build a successful wrongful death case because the primary witness has passed away. Your loved one won’t be able to tell their version of events, answer questions, or provide key information about the circumstances of their death or the events leading up to their passing. A thorough investigation is necessary to fill in the blanks.

Wrongful death cases can be settled outside of court, handled privately with a settlement judge, or brought to civil trial. Most people prefer to settle wrongful death cases outside of court to avoid the trauma that comes with the scrutiny of a trial. If negotiations out of court aren’t satisfactory, bringing the case to the court is the only way to settle the matter. This approach is usually saved as a last resort.

Provided you formally file your claim before the two-year statute of limitations expires, you can usually take as long as reasonably necessary to reach a satisfactory resolution. The statute only applies to the time it takes you to file a claim, not the time it takes you to reach a settlement.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers Will Fight For You!

Losing a loved one to a preventable death is one of the most painful things anyone can experience. During this time, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are resources and support available to you.

At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, our New York wrongful death attorneys have more than (150) years of combined experience helping families just like yours in their time of need. Call us now at 516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation, where it will be our honor and privilege to meticulously go over the details of your case.

Remember, we only take cases we can win, and we’re always prepared to fight — both in and out of court. Start recovering, call now!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 516-342-2200 now!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

NY EPT § 5-4.1 Rights of Members of Family Resulting From Wrongful Act, Neglect or Default Causing Death of Decedent | New York State Senate

Summary of State Wrongful Death and Intestacy Statutes | United States Department of Justice

Statute of Limitations chart -NY Court Help | New York State Unified Court System

Settlement Judges | U.S. Department of Labor

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