In the state of New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. However, in the case of wrongful death, the statute of limitations is generally only two years from the date of death. While two years may seem like a long time, it’s really not, especially in fatal accidents in which there may initially be some questions regarding the cause of the accident and the party responsible for causing it. For example, in a fatal car accident the absence of a guardrail or a design flaw in the car itself may be a contributing factor in someone’s death. However, this fact may only come to light after months of investigation into a fatal car accident. For these reasons, it’s important to begin a thorough investigation into fatal fires, car accidents, surgeries, construction accidents and adverse drug reactions immediately.
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Establishing Liability in a Wrongful Death Case
In fatalities involving pharmaceuticals, dog bites, criminal assaults and even medical malpractice, it’s not necessary to establish negligence or intentional wrongdoing in order for a family to receive compensation for the loss of a family member. In cases involving animal attacks and dangerous drugs, strict liability attaches to dog owners and manufacturers of pharmaceuticals. As a result, in a number of different kinds of wrongful death cases, the question of intent — or gross negligence — may not even be an issue.
In cases involving deaths due to medical malpractice, difficult questions may be involved as to whether the actions of doctors or other health care professionals caused the death of a patient. Here, a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney must evaluate questions involving prior conditions, the risks involved in a procedure, whether standard treatment protocols were followed and other matters.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In general, dependents or beneficiaries of the deceased can file a wrongful death suit. Compensation for the loss of a family member includes both economic and noneconomic damages suffered as a result of wrongful death. Here, damages may include compensation for funeral costs, medical bills and lost wages. Noneconomic damages typically involve loss of consortium, loss of guidance regarding children of the decedent and general pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to death. While some states have capped the amount of noneconomic damages that can be awarded, New York has not.
Holtsville–Long Island Wrongful Death Attorneys Rosenberg & Gluck
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, contact wrongful death attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck to learn how we can help you. We have resources needed to conduct our own investigation into a fatal accident and get the kinds of answers those responsible are almost never willing to provide on their own. Call today — we can help.