What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations on a wrongful death action is two years in the state of New York. The family members of a decedent must be aware of this because there is a general belief, that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. Also, there are other time limits that apply. For example if the person died because of the fault of a municipality or public authority, like the City of New York or the New York City Transit Authority, they still need to file a notice of claim. Likewise, in a car or truck accident, to get no fault death benefits, including reimbursement for funeral or burial expenses, a no fault application needs to be submitted within 30 days of the accident.
What Is The Process Involved In A Wrongful Death Claim?The process would depend on the type of underlying accident involved. For example, in a car accident, within thirty days you want to file a no fault application, so the no fault carrier is on the fence to pay the burial, funeral, and any other hospital expenses. In a work related accident, you need to file a workers comp claim immediately for those benefits. You need to make sure that the surviving spouse gets spousal benefits. You also have to do the underlying investigation to determine who is responsible for the accident, and what could have been done to stop, or prevent the accident. Almost immediately, you should have a state representative appointed, which means filing a petition in the Surrogate courts asking for letters of administration, or letters testamentary.
From that point on, once you get those letters testamentary, we would file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, or in the federal court depending on the jurisdiction, or the underlying type of accident that is involved. Any kind of accident that happens on the water, or maritime would be filed under federal law. Likewise, any kind of civil rights types of cases where someone dies at the hands of police misconduct, or police fatality, those are usually, not always, but usually filed in federal court. There is an original federal jurisdiction under a law known as section 1983, which really is E- 42, United States code section 1983.
How Long Do Wrongful Death Cases Typically Take To Get Resolved?Wrongful death cases are like any other lawsuit, they can be resolved quickly, or they can drive on for years and years. Typically, we have a situation where the decedent, or the person who suffered the wrongful death, or fatality was the breadwinner. Those cases are going to be fairly long. They tend to involve experts, and especially economists who offer projections of the future, as to what the person would have made throughout the course of the lives. It shows, what they would have contributed to the family throughout the course of their lives, and obviously whenever you are dealing with a large number, the case is going to take longer.
Why Is It Important To Hire An Experienced New York Attorney To Handle A wrongful Death Claim?
Trying to handle a wrongful death case on your own would be almost like trying to perform surgery on yourself. It is not a good idea. You definitely need to have a New York attorney who can, 1) file all the paperwork for the Surrogate courts, and get you through the Surrogate courts process, 2) liability is never as clear as you think, it is, and many times, there may be additional defendants who are not readily apparent to another person. For example, in the case of someone who has died because of drinking, and driving accident, everyone tends to think that the driver of the vehicle who has been drinking is at fault. They will not necessarily know, or think about going after potentially the bar, that serviceperson, while they were intoxicated that contributed to this accident.
There are many layers of liability, and different entities that can potentially be liable, which is why anybody who has had a family member, or a loved one died because of an accident. They should immediately contact an experienced New York wrongful death attorney. For example, if you have somebody who died while working on a construction site, everyone knows you will receive workers comp benefits when you die, but there are a number of other labor laws that protect everybody on construction sites. For example, even window washers have labor laws that protect them, where the owner of a construction site or the owner of the property can be sued as kind of general contractor for any violation that led to the person’s death.
The most common ones are inadequate scaffolds, or the failure to provide workers with lifelines, or harnesses. For example, elevator shafts, or scaffold falls from bridges, these are all cases where the question of who is responsible is not readily apparent to the average layperson. So definitely, in the construction context, you need a lawyer who has experience with the New York construction laws. You need an attorney who has experience handling maritime wrongful death actions, because the procedures especially in federal court can be very cumbersome, and there are many maritime industry trade standards that can be violated, which can also give rise to liability, even in trucking accidents.
People may think the driver of the vehicle is at fault, but then they do not know that the owner of the vehicle, or whoever employed the driver, which is not always the same as the owner of the vehicle, can also be sued. Therefore, many layers of liability and different parties can be identified as having responsibility. These are some of the reasons that someone who lost a family member, should never try to do this alone. Every settlement of a wrongful death case is going to at some point need court approval. Therefore, a petition, usually some sort of compromised petition, is always going to have to be submitted to the courts at the end of the process.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Wrongful Death Claims?Our New York wrongful death attorneys are all parents for the most part. We certainly sympathize and feel strongly that whenever a person has lost a family member, whether it is a child, or a spouse has lost a working husband, we always look at these situations and think, “But for the grace of God, there go I”. So anytime our lawyers see a wrongful death case, we can visualize ourselves being in that person’s shoes as can every attorney in our firm. Our New York wrongful death lawyers are extremely sympathetic to these cases. We understand the emotions involved, and we always bend over backwards, and try to go the extra mile to help our clients who have suffered a wrongful death, or to help any family member who has suffered a wrongful death.
Get Information on Statute Of Limitations For Wrongful Death or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the legal answers you are seeking. We have offices in Manhattan and New York.