NY wrongful death attorneys

Wrongful Death Lawyers

Representing the loved ones of victims who pass due to negligence in NY, NJ and Chicago, IL for over 50 years.

If you or someone you know has lost a loved one due to a fatal accident that occurred due to negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against the guilty party. The resulting compensation is often used to ease the financial pain of those who are grieving a departed loved one.

What is a “Wrongful Death?”

A wrongful death is any death that occurs due to the actions or negligence of another person. It is not considered a crime, as wrongful deaths occur due to accidental circumstances or negligence, not out of any maliciousness or negative intent.

In order to legally qualify as a wrongful death, the accident has to be proven to be the result of another person’s action, inaction or direct negligence. Otherwise, the death is just an accident.

What is a Wronful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim against a person or group who could be held liable for someone’s death. Wrongful death lawsuits are usually based upon claims that the death of an individual occurred directly or largely as a result of negligence, defective machinery or vehicles, or medical malpractice.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be complex since many factors can contribute to the circumstances that led to an accidental death, including:

  • Was negligence intentional or excusable
  • How many individuals were ultimately responsible
  • Did the victim bear some responsibility for the accident

Wrongful death lawsuits are most often brought against individuals, companies, or other entities by family members or loved ones of the deceased.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Any relative or close loved one of the deceased including spouses, parents, friends, or personal representatives for their estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Types of Wrongful Death Accidents

Car accidents caused by a driver’s negligence often result in severe injuries, and death for passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.

A doctor or other medical professional’s negligent acts can lead to a patient’s death. This can include surgical errors, as well as misprescription and misdiagnosis that result in a patient’s death.

Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment and can be held liable for accidents on premises that result in death.

Sellers and manufacturers can be held liable for deaths caused by defective products.

Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe premises and can be held liable for accidents that result in death.

Deaths caused by employer negligence including faulty machinery, unsafe conditions, and improper safety training may be considered wrongful deaths.

Wrongful death can happen as a result of an accident caused by a negligent boat operator or owner.

The negligent handling of a firearm leads to many wrongful deaths each year in the US.

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Eligibility for Wrongful Death Claims

The following are are wrongful death lawsuit requirements which clients must meet in order to be eligible for filing a claim, and seeking compensation:

  • A person must have died
  • The death must have been caused by either negligence or provably wrongful conduct
  • The negligence or conduct could have been the subject of a personal injury or similar lawsuit, and could have led to recovered damages, if the victim had survived
  • One or more survivors or related victims have suffered damages as a result of the death

The last requirement means that the surviving family members or loved ones must have a reason to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court. Reasons may include:

  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of income/livelihood (if the deceased was a provider)
  • Pérdida de compañía

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Compensation

New York wrongful death lawsuits can result in damages for the following:

  • Pain and suffering damages, intended to compensate victims for emotional and/or physical turmoil
  • Loss of future income and financial support
  • Funeral/burial costs and expenses
  • Medical expenses, both for the deceased and any other injured parties in the same accident
  • Loss of companionship, particularly for spouses
  • Loss of inheritance

Monetary damages in these cases compensate for loss of lifetime earnings. This determination often requires expertise from financial and legal professionals. An economist, for example, may complete an analysis that takes into account factors such as yearly salary increases, bonus potential and inflation. Compensation is also awarded to cover the pain and suffering sustained by a victim’s loved ones.

*For New York clients: New York is one of the few states that does not cap the damages a party may receive for pain and suffering. This means that a victim’s family or estate cannot be automatically denied the full compensation they are eligible for.

Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts

What is the Average Settlement for Wrongful Death?

The expected settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit heavily depends on the circumstances of the case and the level of negligence or liability the defendant is found responsible for. Settlement amounts can range from thousands to millions of dollars depending on aspects including:

  • Estimated pain and suffering for the victim
  • Damage to the victim in medical costs, both past and future
  • Estimated future income based on the victim’s age – for instance, if the victim was a working father and a sole provider, damages may be awarded to his family based on his projected earnings over several years

Average settlements are also determined by the strength of the cases presented by wrongful death lawyers.

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Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

Every state has their own statutes of limitations in place that set unique deadlines for filing wrongful death lawsuits. Filing a wrongful death claim after this time period expires will result in the lawsuit being rejected. For example, in New York, must commence a wrongful death action within two years of the death.

How Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work

A wrongful death lawsuit proceeds when a surviving family member, spouse, or head of estate brings the lawsuit to court and files it against an individual or group to hold them liable for the death in question.

Over the course of a case, wrongful death attorneys will seek to prove negligence or wrongful conduct on the part of the accused. They may also seek to prove that the overseeing hospital failed to assign suitably skilled personnel to an operation or patient.

For instance, in a medical malpractice wrongful death case, prosecuting lawyers may seek to prove that the medical practitioner(s) in question failed to use the correct instruments.

The court will determine the amount of guilt or liability that the accused party holds, if any. This determination will affect the total damages that the accuser(s) can expect.

Workplace Accidents & Wrongful Death

A deadly accident that occurs at the workplace could also provide the basis for a wrongful death claim. If the negligent action of an employer or a third-party company causes a fatal construction accident, there could be both a workers’ compensation case and a wrongful death claim.

The complexity of these cases increases when one company maintains control over a premises, but hires other companies to come on site to perform certain tasks. For example, an independent contractor’s employee was seriously injured during a fall into a kettle at Conopco, Inc.’s Unilever plant.

The employee worked for Vac-Con Industrial Services, Inc. when he was assigned to clean the tank. He received workers’ compensation benefits from his employer. He also sued Conopco for negligently failing to provide a scaffold, ladder or lift or warn of the dangerous condition the tank posed.

Ultimately, the appellate court dismissed the case finding that Conopco did not maintain substantial control over the job site and did not have a duty to warn. This example illustrates the added complexity if a workplace accident proves fatal.

After Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Much of what happens in a wrongful death case takes place outside the courtroom. Often settlements are reached before the trial stage. A big step in reaching a settlement is the initial phase known as discovery.

Discovery is a fact-finding stage that all parties named in a lawsuit have the right to conduct to benefit their case. The discovery phase will include the following:

  • Subpoenas: Official orders issued by a court of government agency to compel a witness to testify
  • Interrogatories: Formal written questions that the recipient is required to answer
  • Depositions: Oral statements taken from a witness under oath prior to trial

Typically, both parties accomplish depositions and other aspects of discovery with the professional guidance of attorneys. Those called to give a deposition may be told to go to a law office and answer a series of questions posed by the opposing party’s attorney. The answers are often recorded by a court reporter and are considered official.

National Wrongful & Accidental Death Statistics

The following statistics are yearly averages regarding wrongful and accidental death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
29 M

Emergency Department Visits

For unintentional injuries

168 K

Unintentional Injury Deaths

37 K

Unintentional Fall Deaths

40 K

Motor Vehicle Traffic Deaths

64 K

Unintentional Poisoning Deaths

29 K

Accidental Deaths

Caused by other acts of negligence not listed above

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

The wrongful death attorneys at Sobo & Sobo have helped families and friends of deceased loved ones in NY, NJ and the tri-county area for over 50 years. Clients can contact them online or call 855-468-7626 to learn the value of their case in a free consultation.

Featured Blogs About Wrongful Death


¿Ha sufrido lesiones en

Lo primero que debe hacer es acudir a un profesional médico y asegurarse de mencionar todas las áreas de dolor o lesión. Segundo: llame a Sobo & Sobo para asegurar sus derechos.

Es probable que haya sufrido lesiones personales si (1) ha sufrido un accidente que no ha sido totalmente culpa suya, y (2) ha sufrido una lesión como consecuencia del accidente.

The Sobo & Sobo “No Fee Guarantee” puts in writing that there is never a charge unless the firm wins money for the client.

El término "sin culpa" hace referencia al sistema legal que obliga a la compañía de seguros del vehículo que usted ocupa a pagar determinadas prestaciones, como facturas médicas y salarios perdidos, independientemente de quién haya causado el accidente. Nueva York, por ejemplo, tiene una ley de no culpabilidad que obliga a la compañía de seguros del vehículo que ocupas a pagar las prestaciones aunque ese vehículo no haya causado el accidente.

Hay diferentes estatutos de limitaciones en Nueva York, y excepciones que pueden añadir tiempo adicional. Aunque cada caso es diferente, el plazo de prescripción en Nueva York para las demandas por lesiones personales es de tres años a partir de la fecha del accidente.