A wrongful death claim arises when someone dies as a result of another person’s negligent act. A representative or agent of a deceased person’s estate may file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased against the person responsible for the death. Wrongful death actions arise from personal injury claims, automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and construction accidents, among others.
In New York State, wrongful death actions are governed by The New York Estate, Power and Trust Laws(EPTL). Section 5-4.1 of the EPTL states, “Action by personal representative for wrongful act, neglect or default causing death of decedent.” This section provides a legal representative or acting agent of an estate to bring the wrongful death action. Section 5-4.3 of the EPTL allows damages to be recovered in a wrongful death action.
In a wrongful death action, the legal representative must prove “pecuniary loss.” This means that the representative must show loss of support for the decedent’s next of kin due to the loss of the decedent’s earnings. In situations where the decedent had a surviving spouse or dependent child, then a claim for the economic loss would be made because economic loss is not limited to loss of earnings. Losses such as guidance or care may be claimed.
In sum, to have a claim for wrongful death a Plaintiff must show:
- A person died from the negligence of another and
- There is a surviving spouse, child, or dependents that relied on the decedents income and
- The survivors suffered economic loss as a result of the defendant’s negligent action.
If you or someone you love has died as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Levine & Slavit, PLLC for the representation you deserve. Call (888) LAW-8088.