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New York State wrongful death lawyerFew things are harder to experience than the death of a loved one. If that person’s death was preventable and you could prove that another person or a company was at fault, then you can get the defendant to provide damages to you and your family through a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a difficult topic to navigate, but with the right lawyer, you can hope to be compensated for any economic loss that the death caused you.  

What Damages Can I Recover?

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact dollar amount that you can expect to receive in a wrongful death lawsuit, but you can get a general idea by estimating the value of a few specific considerations:

  • Health care expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost inheritance
  • The support that the deceased could have provided to surviving family members
  • The care and guidance the victim could have provided to their children
  • Conscious suffering that the deceased experienced before death

The lost wages and benefits that your loved one would have provided to you if they were alive include the estimated income that they would have earned in the future. The health care costs before the deceased’s passing, funeral and burial costs, and lost inheritance are not difficult to assign a dollar value, but it is difficult to determine the cost of the vague final three points in the list above. Therefore, you need an experienced and trustworthy attorney who is familiar with wrongful death lawsuits to pursue the best outcome for you and your family.

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New York wrongful death lawyersWith so much in our world having changed in a matter of weeks due to the coronavirus, it is easy to forget in all that panic and preparation that there are still semblances of our usual routines that are still recognizable despite our culture constantly adapting to the circumstances. We must not lose sight of who we are and what needs to be done when we see something unjust. This is true of many things, but one of those is holding people accountable and responsible for negligence that results in wrongful death.

Possible Coronavirus Wrongful Death Lawsuits

With more than 200,000 cases and 8,000 deaths worldwide, the coronavirus is having a serious—and often deadly—impact on life as we know it. Since not enough is known about this new and dangerous disease, people are prone to make mistakes that could be fatal to your loved ones. Here are two major examples of places rife with potential for fatal negligence in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, as evidenced by recent exposure:

  • Cruise Ships—With cruise ships like the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess presenting extremely high incidence of coronavirus infections and deaths, it is no surprise that staff negligence could put passengers in danger. As many say, all those people packed together on one ship at sea is like a giant floating petri dish: an ideal scenario for an aggressive virus like COVID-19. Additionally, if the staff on board, including maids, janitors, and chefs, are not following appropriate safety and health guidelines, the virus is bound to spread at an alarming rate, causing needless deaths.
  • Nursing Homes—With 10 nursing homes and long-term care facilities near Seattle confirming cases of the virus just last week, it is apparent these places are highly conducive to virus spread. If the staff, including nurses, doctors, certified nursing assistants, maids, janitors, and cooks, are not taking proper safety measures in their daily work, such as keeping all surfaces regularly disinfected, washing their hands for 20 seconds as often as necessary, and making sure the residents are not exposed to anything unsanitary, the coronavirus could spread—and kill—those most susceptible to the disease.

However, proving that your loved one died from negligence in those places or other similar places is a challenge. Your lawyer would have to provide evidence that speaks to a failure on the part of the company or staff to take “all reasonable measures” necessary to protect its patrons from the spread of the coronavirus. Even if the failure could be proven, there is the matter of waivers that many people sign for both cruise ships and nursing homes that put limitations on possible future litigation. In many cases, these waivers bar class-action lawsuits and constitute arbitration agreements prohibiting loved ones from going to court to seek compensation on the deceased’s behalf. Regardless of these challenges, you can sue for wrongful death from the coronavirus, but there have not been enough case studies to support them and their success rates quite yet.

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NYC wrongful death lawyersThe untimely death of a family member can be extremely difficult to overcome. Feelings of emotion coinciding with high levels of stress can lead to loved ones feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to proceed. Medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and loss of future wages and benefits may cause a significant financial burden for the surviving family members. According to OSHA, more than 99 workers per week died on the job the United States in 2017. If negligence or misconduct contributed to the death of a loved one, financial compensation may be awarded. In order to understand your legal standing and you available options, it is important to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney.  

Proving a Wrongful Death

In the state of New York, only the legal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Furthermore, the deceased must be survived by one or more relatives that have suffered a financial loss as a result of the death. Before restitution is granted to the plaintiff, it must be proven that negligence or carelessness from another party caused the death. For example, if a construction worker was killed due to falling off a broken ladder, the company may be responsible for fostering an unsafe work environment and providing faulty equipment. However, if the construction worker ignored safety regulations and committed an act that contributed to his or her death, the company could potentially avoid liability. A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the death, according to the New York statute of limitations.

What if Both Parties Were at Fault?

If it is determined that the wrongful death victim failed to act prudently during the time of his or her death, contributory negligence may be established. Although contributory negligence or assumption of risk might have contributed to a person’s death, it would not prohibit the legal representative of the deceased from seeking compensation. It is crucial to note that the amount of damages that might be recovered could decrease in proportion to the responsibility of the victim. For example, if a construction worker was not wearing a helmet at the time of his or her death, the worker could be found to be partially responsible for his or her death.

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