Wrongful Death

What is a wrongful death claim?

Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful and upsetting experiences particularly if that loss is sudden, unexpected and the result of someone else’s negligence. In law, this is called wrongful death and is defined as “the taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons.” If you believe that your loved one has died due to the fault or misconduct of another person or an organization (like a product manufacturer), you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. In case you decide to seek justice and if you live in the New York state area, you will need an experienced and successful wrongful death attorney who is willing to fight for your rights and compensation you might be entitled to.

A wrongful death compensation can cover the following: medical bills, funeral expenses, lost earnings, loss of future income, lost household services, pain and suffering, and various non-economic damages including the loss of companionship, protection, advice or moral support.

Here are some examples of the wrongful death cases: car / airplane / motorcycle / bus / train accidents, construction accidents, death occurring as a result of a slip and fall, swimming pool accidents, defective products (including medication and other pharmaceuticals), work injuries, nursing home & medical negligence or malpractice, dog attacks, fires, gunshot wounds, boating accidents…

There are several elements that the plaintiffs in wrongful death cases have to prove in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, namely:

  • Death has occurred;
  • Death was a direct result of wrongful or negligent actions by the defendant;
  • Plaintiffs are entitled to compensation;
  • Decedent is survived by family members or dependents who have suffered loss because of his or her death;
  • Plaintiffs must meet the same burden of proof that the deceased would have had to meet if his or her death had not occurred.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

A wrongful death claim has to be filed by the survivors of the deceased person (immediate and distant family members), persons who have suffered loss as a direct result of the victim’s death, domestic and life partners, including putative spouses, or representatives (administrators or executors of the victim’s estate) on behalf of the decedent’s family.

Statute of Limitation

The laws regulating wrongful death claims are very complex and vary from state to state. The same can be said for the statute of limitations or the deadline to sue for wrongful death. In some states (like Oregon), the statute of limitation is three years but this depends on many different circumstances, for instance, when alcohol is involved or a government body is a potential defendant. It is of paramount importance to file a wrongful death claim within the statute of limitation period, even if you are still in the grieving period.

According to the New York Bar Association, the statute of limitation in wrongful death cases in the New York state area is two years from death providing that a government body is not a potential defendant.

Who can help you with wrongful death claims in the New York state area?

For the past 35 years, wrongful death lawyers at New York City-based Gurfein Douglas have been nothing short of efficient and successful in winning record settlements for their clients. The wrongful death settlements have helped our clients with recovering medical expenses, funeral costs, compensating for the loved one’s lost wages and, in some cases, the loss of their companionship. Wrongful death attorneys at Gurfein Douglas will provide you with all the legal help and representation you need when dealing with a wrongful death claim while relying on an extensive experience and scientific training of the firm’s two partners.

Wrongful death cases are often full of complex technical details that the untrained eye might not detect. Apart from being competent and knowledgeable lawyers, Richard Gurfein and Preston Douglas also have degrees in engineering and biology. Richard Gurfein’s success as a trial lawyer representing injured clients has gained him membership in the elite "Million Dollar Advocates Forum", while Preston Douglas is an expert in medical malpractice and serious injury cases. In the last 27 years, he has cross examined over 2,000 doctors in the course of trials and depositions.

Wrongful death attorneys at Gurfein Douglas are not afraid of a challenge. On the contrary, they relish on it. No matter how complicated the case or how formidable the defendant may be, Gurfein Douglas will do everything in their power to get your loved one the justice and the compensation you deserve.