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When are Accidents Considered Wrongful Death and What Damages Are Available?

Section 5-4.1 of New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Law provides that parties can sue for damages related to a decedent's wrongful death, i.e., death due to a wrongful act, neglect, or default. Therefore, types of accidents that may result in wrongful death damages for survivors include:

  • Accidents involving vehicles, including car, truck, bus, or bicycle crashes
  • Medical malpractice events
  • Eldercare facility abuse and neglect
  • Construction or workplace accidents
  • Accidents due to dangerous premises—when a home, business, or other location has conditions that could cause injury or death due to negligence or deficient upkeep

Who Is Eligible to Sue and Receive Benefits: 

New York law provides that anyone who would receive benefits from the decedent's estate (e.g., heirs, designees) is entitled to receive damages from a lawsuit arising out of the decedent's wrongful death. In practice, this usually includes, but is not limited to, immediate family members such as a spouse, children born in or out of marriage, or parents.

However, the law does not allow for the heirs themselves to file suit. Instead, the estate's personal representative must file the lawsuit—conceptually, the representative acts on behalf of the decedent rather than the heirs. If, however, the estate's representative refuses to file the lawsuit, then the heirs can seek to have an administrator appointed to file the suit.

Types of Damages That Can Be Awarded:

While specific damages are determined due to the facts of each case, typical damages may include:

  • compensation for the decedent's lost future earnings, including potential raises and promotions, and adjustments for future inflation
  • lost employee benefits, such as contributions to pensions or retirement accounts
  • value of household services, based on the decedent's contribution to family care as well as maintenance and upkeep of the household
  • reasonable expenses of the decedent's medical aid, nursing, and attention incident to the injury causing death, and
  • reasonable funeral expenses 

If you lost a loved one due to an accident, call LemmoLaw today for a free consultation.

With a 100% success rate from 2014-2020, Ed Lemmo, Esq. is one of New York's top personal injury trial attorneys. A member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association who serves as trial counsel for some of New York's finest law firms, Lemmo has a very high rating from AVVO. His trial verdicts are regularly published in New York Jury Verdict and New York Jury Verdict Reporter. Lemmo represents plaintiffs in all five boroughs and upstate New York in matters ranging from car accidents to medical malpractice.

Contact Me Today

Edward Lemmo, Esq., is committed to answering your questions about Slip, Trip, & Fall accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Construction Accidents, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice law issues in New York.

I offer a free consultation and I'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.

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