Wrongful Death Lawyer

wrongful death lawyer

The loss of a loved one is a distressing event, no matter what the circumstances may be. However, if your loved one died as the result of another individual’s or company’s negligence, then you may have a wrongful death case. At David Carr & Associates, we work closely with families in the greater New York City and Western New York areas who are grieving the loss of a loved one as a result of a wrongful death action. Whether your loved one died because of a car accident, a defective product, a fall, or any other type of tort, we are here to help.

How do I know if I have a wrongful death claim?

A strong New York wrongful death case must prove several elements, including, but not limited to:

  • That a death has occurred;
  • That the death was caused by the negligence of the defendant;
  • That the deceased would have had grounds to file a claim (for instance, a personal injury claim) if death had not occurred;
  • That the death has resulted in a loss for the decedent’s survivors; and 
  • That there are losses for which the survivors can be compensated (e.g., medical bills, funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost companionship, lost wages, etc.)

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

The wrongful death claim may seek damages on behalf of the deceased individual’s heirs, beneficiaries, and devisees. However, New York State mandates that the individual filing the claim must be the legally appointed personal representative of your deceased loved one’s estate. Individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased individual- a spouse and young children, for example- may receive a larger portion of the proceeds than adult children.

The priority of distribution is state-specific, so it is vital that you seek legal advice from an experienced NY wrongful death lawyer to establish clear expectations. New York State has established a priority for the distribution of proceeds from a wrongful death case as follows:

  1. If the survivor is a spouse and the couple did not have children, then the entire amount is distributed to the spouse.
  2. If there is a surviving spouse AND children: $50,000 and half of the balance of the estate are distributed to the spouse. The other half of the estate balance is split equally among the children.
  3. If survivors include children, but no spouse, then the whole amount goes to the children and is divided equally among them.
  4. If the survivors include one or more parents, but no spouse and no children, then the proceeds go to the surviving parents.

Compensation for a wrongful death claim may include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easier to calculate and may include medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages). Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, but are no less important to the survivors. Examples may include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of parental nurturing.

Why should I choose David Carr & Associates?

When you experience the death of a loved one as the result of a fatal accident, finding the strength to move forward can feel overwhelming. We emphasize a strong attorney-client relationship and are here to help you navigate the emotional and legal aspects of your case, every step of the way.

What steps do I need to take if I want to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

If you believe that you have grounds for a wrongful death case, here are a few steps that you’ll want to take to increase your changes of obtaining a full financial recovery:

  • Contact our office to speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. We will walk you through each step of the legal process and will fight to get you maximum compensation for the loss.
  • File a wrongful death claim as soon as possible. The statute of limitations in New York State is within two years of the deceased person’s death. Even if the representative of the deceased individual is a child or an adult legally incapable of filing a claim (e.g., a mentally incapacitated adult), then the child’s or incapable adult’s guardian must file the wrongful death claim. 
  • Keep copies of all documentation related to the case and the implications of the loss, including medical bills, police reports, the death certificate, the autopsy report, medical records, tax returns and any other relevant paperwork.
  • Appoint a personal representative or administrator. If the deceased loved one had a will, the personal representative is likely named in the will. If the deceased individual did not have a will, then the personal representative may be the spouse, another individual chosen by the heirs, or an individual appointed by a judge. In New York State, the individual who brings the wrongful death claim to court must be the appointed personal representative. 

When you contact David Carr & Associates, you’ll find the wrongful death attorney in New York City and Buffalo-area residents rely on to handle wrongful death cases with experienced, caring service. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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