When a loved one dies unexpectedly due to the negligence or fault of another, it is known in legal terms as wrongful death. While loved ones of the deceased have legal rights in wrongful death cases, families are often hesitant to take legal action even when it is necessary for their wellbeing. At Buttafuoco & Associates, we have handled many wrongful death cases, and understand the shock and grief that families go through in these situations. If your loved one has died due to another’s negligence, your best course of action is often working with an experienced wrongful death attorney in New York. A good attorney will take care of the stressful legal details so you can properly mourn your loss. I will tell you more about when you may be eligible for wrongful death benefits, and when a lawyer may be of use.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
There are two main types of wrongful death cases: criminal and non-criminal. An obvious example of a criminal wrongful death case is murder, which involves intentional wrongdoing and is therefore a crime. If a loved one dies because of this type of crime, it’s important to understand that this is not covered by insurance, and damages cannot be recovered.
In a civil case, on the other hand, a wrongful death lawsuit may come into play. In a civil case, no crime was committed: the death was caused by someone’s negligence or carelessness. That could mean the at-fault party acted unsafely, failed to follow rules, misdiagnosed an illness, or provided incorrect medication. It is possible for anyone, even a friend or loved one, to be involved in a wrongful death lawsuit. A friend who accidentally shoots and kills another friend during a hunting trip, or a spouse whose negligent driving caused the death of a family member could be involved.
If you are considering filing a case, it’s important to remember that you needn’t feel guilty: the claim is not against the person, but against the insurance company. You will work with a negligence lawyer (otherwise known as a “tort” lawyer) who will help you recover damages. If the case is successful, the insurer will pay you so that you receive the support you need. A good wrongful death attorney serving New York can answer your questions and help you better understand the complexities around these laws. Buttafuoco & Associates has worked on countless successful wrongful death cases over the years, and offers free consultations.
Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases can take many forms, but the most common include:
- Car accidents (most common)
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
In the state of New York, negligent driving is an incredibly common scenario: a driver who fails to obey a stoplight or texts while driving can easily cause a dangerous accident. Malpractice cases, where a doctor makes a misdiagnosis or other medical mistake, are also incredibly common. Construction accidents are another cause of wrongful death claims that we see all too often, as construction is the most unsafe industry in the U.S.
Wrongful death cases can sometimes be challenging to prove because the decedent (person who died in the accident) cannot testify. However, these cases are incredibly rewarding for lawyers when they are able to help a struggling family receive compensation they need to rest at ease during a difficult time.
Who Recovers Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case?
The persons who recover compensation in a wrongful death case are referred to as “distributees.” The family of the decedent, including minor children and their spouse, can collect damages that will support them. If the decedent was the main source of income for the family, the family can collect damages throughout the expected lifespan of the decedent. This is true even if a spouse remarries before a trial, in which case the jury will not be notified.
One of the most complicated parts of a wrongful death case is that the rules are incredibly technical in terms of who can claim and how much. This is why it is best to work with a qualified New York wrongful death attorney who is experienced in these cases. Buttafuoco & Associates has handled many such cases successfully, recovering significant compensation for those left behind by the decedent.
Can You Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering?
In both New York and New Jersey, survivors cannot recover compensation for grief or suffering; they can only claim pecuniary losses, which are equivalent to the financial value of the decedent. Because of this, big cases tend to happen only when dependents and family relied on the decedent’s income for support. The unfortunate side effect of this is that children and the elderly are often not “worth” much money in court, which can put a huge burden on families as they try to recover from the loss. Buttafuoco & Associates is actively striving to get these laws changed, and in the meantime fighting as hard as possible for our clients.
When a New York Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one and know their death could have been prevented, it is well within your rights to file a claim. Buttafuoco & Associates treats all of our clients like our own family, and will fight to get you the compensation you need for support. To tell us more about your wrongful death case, get in touch with us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.