Finkelstein & Partners
1279 Route 300
Newburgh, NY, 12551

1-877-709-6658


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Finkelstein & Partners, LLP – Winning Serious Injury Lawsuits Since 1959

Around 20 million people call New York home, making the state one of the most populous in the nation. These New Yorkers give the state its cultural flair and provide many vital services and products for the country. Living in New York with so many people and so much to do unfortunately means an increased risk of dying from an injury caused by someone else’s reckless or careless actions.

If you have lost a loved one in an accident due to negligence, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your loss through a wrongful death claim. A New York wrongful death lawyer from Finkelstein & Partners can help you understand this process and provide information about the services we can offer to assist you with your claim.

We have helped families in New York for more than 60 years to obtain the compensation they need, including:

  • A $7.5 million verdict for the family of a young man who drowned due to deceptive advertising about an AirBnB that suggested a pond adjacent to the property was calm and suitable for kayaking when in reality, the pond featured underwater turbines that resulted in the owner-provided kayak capsizing.
  • A $3.2 million settlement from the State of New York for a poorly designed road that caused numerous accidents, including one that killed a wife and mother of two.
  • A $2.8 million settlement for the family of a construction worker who died when the trench they worked in collapsed. Another sub-contractor had dug the trench, and the general contractor failed to shore the walls of the trench as required by New York building codes.
  • A $2 million settlement for the family of an elderly pedestrian killed after a vehicle struck and dragged them in a shopping plaza parking lot.

These are just examples of our results and do not guarantee specific outcomes in other cases. Contact us at Finkelstein & Partners to see what we can do for you and your case.

Are there particular situations/events that commonly lead to wrongful death?

Situations or events that commonly lead to wrongful death lawsuits include:

What Is Wrongful Death?

New York law defines wrongful death as a death resulting from a “wrongful act, neglect, or default.” In New York, when another person’s negligence injures someone, the victim may seek compensation.

If an individual dies in an accident that—had they survived—would have given them the right to file a personal injury lawsuit, an administrator (executor) of the deceased’s estate has the right to seek compensation for the deceased’s family members and the estate through a wrongful death claim.

Common Types of Accidents that Can Result in a Wrongful Death

New York’s roadways are notoriously crowded, and accidents are common, particularly in winter when the surfaces of roads become slick with ice and snow. Beyond dangerous roads, many of the state’s buildings are old, and neglected maintenance has resulted in fires, floods, dangerous walkways, and other property hazards. Accidents and fatalities can occur in all parts of the state. Here is a look at some of the most common accidents that result in wrongful death claims in New York.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Like many places, the COVID-19 pandemic had disastrous effects on New York roadways, despite less traffic due to pandemic shutdowns. Speeding on relatively empty streets was a major cause of this increase, though higher traffic accident counts continued to plague the state even as New York lifts its pandemic restrictions. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of unintentional injury in New York. They can involve passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, buses, taxis or rideshares, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents include speeding, alcohol impairment, distracted driving, following too closely, and failure to yield the right-of-way.

Construction Accidents

Construction accidents and other workplace injuries are other common causes of wrongful death. In many cases, New York’s worker’s compensation program pays for these losses. Worker’s compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that most employers in the state must provide their employees. In addition to providing coverage of medical treatment and wage replacement for injured workers, the program also provides death benefits for survivors of workers who died on the job, regardless of fault.

These benefits include:

  • Weekly cash benefits of two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average wage for the spouses and dependents of the deceased.
  • A payment of $50,000 for the surviving parents or estate of the deceased worker if they had no dependents.
  • Reasonable costs associated with the funeral and burial or cremation.

In some cases, when a wrongful death occurs in the workplace, a wrongful death claim is the appropriate avenue for seeking compensation for the loss. These cases involve third-party liability, which occurs when someone other than the worker’s coworker or employer is at fault for the accident that caused their death.

Nursing Home Abuse

More than 600 nursing homes in New York are certified to accept patients on Medicare or Medicaid. These facilities must uphold their residents’ rights, including the right to be free from abuse, discrimination, and physical or chemical restraint. Unfortunately, many of these nursing homes do not have the trained, professional staff necessary to meet the needs of the residents, which places the residents at risk of incurring injury or even dying.

Staff shortages often result in unvetted and improperly trained workers dealing with patients, medication mix-ups, a lack of fall prevention for residents, and even impatient, abrupt, or abusive behavior exhibited by overworked staff members toward elderly and vulnerable residents.

Premises Liability Matters

All property owners in New York—whether the owner of a home, a commercial business or the manager of public property—have in common the responsibility to ensure that the property is free of hazards that can cause injuries or death to visitors.

Some of the common types of premises liability accidents that can result in a New York wrongful death include:

  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents
  • Fires or flooding
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Elevator or escalator accidents
  • Dog bites/animal attacks
  • Failure to provide adequate security

Dangerous Products

New Yorkers rely on hundreds of products throughout the day, including medications, foods, appliances, vehicles, and much more. The manufacturers of these products must ensure that their products are safe for consumers when used according to the instructions on the product’s package or label.

However, product defects often result in injury or even death, and anyone in the manufacturing chain can be found liable for compensating victims or their families.

Product liability claims often become mass tort cases involving multiple parties with similar claims against the same company. These cases are big and complex. Having an attorney with mass tort experience is highly recommended when seeking compensation after a death occurs as a result of a defective product.

The Wrongful Death Claims Process

A wrongful death claim is a legal claim filed in a New York civil court that seeks to prove who was at fault for the accident and to show the expenses and impacts from the death. Wrongful death claims usually do not start as lawsuits but rather as a demand against an associated liability insurance policy held by the at-fault party.

The provider of this policy can choose to either pay the demand, deny the claim, or offer to settle the claim out-of-court for less than its established value.

If the insurance provider fails to compensate the claim, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit and let the court determine liability and compensation. However, even after you file suit, the claim can still resolve through a settlement agreement before the court decides on the matter.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

While personal injury claims are filed directly by the injured individual, the deceased’s family members dealing with the expenses and impacts of their loss are not usually permitted to file a wrongful death claim. Instead, the claim is filed by a named or appointed estate administrator on behalf of the family.

How Long You Have to File a Lawsuit

The statute of limitations on New York wrongful death claims is generally two years from the date of death. This means that the claimant has two years to file the claim as a lawsuit in court. This is a critical deadline to remember, as allowing the statute of limitations to expire on your claim will result in the loss of the claimant’s right to use the court system to seek compensation if the at-fault party’s insurance provider fails to pay the claim.

Because insurance companies generally offer settlements to avoid litigation, removing that possibility will likely result in the insurance company refusing to settle as there is no legal recourse if they do not.

Proving Liability in a New York Wrongful Death Claim

Liability refers to an individual’s legal responsibility to compensate others harmed by their careless or reckless actions.

To have a successful outcome to a New York wrongful death claim, the claimant must show:

  • The at-fault party had a duty within the given circumstances of the accident to take reasonable actions to avoid causing harm to others. For example, a driver’s duty on a New York roadway is to drive safely and per state and local traffic laws.
  • A breach of this duty occurred when the at-fault party took careless or reckless actions that were contrary to avoiding causing harm to others.
  • As a result of the breach of duty, an accident occurred, and someone was seriously injured. Those injuries resulted in death.

The Type of Compensation Available

Wrongful death claims can result in compensation for these expenses and impacts incurred by family members or the estate:

  • The cost of a funeral service and burial or cremation.
  • The cost of medically treating the deceased’s final injuries.
  • The loss of financial support that the deceased provided to their family members.
  • The survivors’ loss of inheritance.
  • Loss of love, support, nurturing, guidance, and care afforded to family members by the deceased.
  • Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased from the time of their final injury until the time of death.
  • Interest on the award, calculated from the time of death.

How a New York Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help With Your Claim

A New York wrongful death lawyer from Finkelstein & Partners can provide many services to assist wrongful death claimants, including:

  • An investigation of the accident to determine all sources of liability and insurance resources that can compensate you.
  • Determining the claim’s value, based on the amount of insurance available, the expenses incurred by the family, and the profound impacts the deceased’s passing had on their loved ones.
  • Managing the timelines of the claim to ensure that the claimant retains their right to pursue the claim in court if necessary.
  • Managing communication with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to negotiate a settlement that fairly compensates the deceased’s loved ones for the expenses and impacts of the loss.
  • Gathering the evidence and medical documentation necessary to prove liability and to justify the claim’s value.
  • Litigation services, including the preparation of evidence exhibits, the arrangement of expert testimony, the deposition and examination of witnesses, the filing of motions, and the delivery of opening and closing arguments.
  • Collecting the settlement or court award for the claimant.

Let our New York wrongful death lawyer at Finkelstein & Partners help you make sense of the claims process. For a free consultation, contact us online or by calling (518) 452-2813.

What damages are awarded in New York wrongful death claims?

Monetary awards include:

  • Lost wages from the past and the future
  • Funeral/burial expenses
  • Certain medical and health care expenses related to the deceased’s final injury/illness
  • Loss of services and the jury can consider the character, habits and ability of the deceased, the circumstances and condition of the surviving family members, the services the deceased would have performed had they not died, the value of the intellectual, moral and physical training, guidance and assistance the deceased would have given the children had they lived.

The extent of the damages available varies based on multiple factors. Our dedicated team of wrongful death attorneys will outline what damages you are entitled to collect bases on the specifics of your case.

How long do I have to file a wrongful death suit in New York?

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Generally, in the state of New York, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the person’s death.  In some situations, a notice of claim or notice of intention to file a claim must be filed within 30 or 90 days from the event.

A wrongful death claim in New York must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death, there may be exceptions. The two year rule, known as a statute of limitations, bars wrongful death claims from being filed in New York courts if more than two years have passed between the date of death and the date of filing.

New York does not “toll,” or stop, the statute of limitations from running if the personal representative of the deceased person is a child or is legally incapable of filing the claim. In these cases, the guardian of the child or incapable person is expected to file the wrongful death claim instead.

What is the process for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?

If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, we recommend contacting an experienced wrongful death attorney. A trusted attorney will walk you through each stage of the process and provide you with an explanation of what options are available to you. While the process varies based on a number of factors, below is a general breakdown of the steps of filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

You must first identify whether an individual or corporation is responsible for the death of your loved one. Again, one of our experienced attorneys will be able to advise whether you will be able to hold the individual or corporation accountable.

Secondly, you must ensure the date of the incident that caused the death is within the statute of limitations. New York State allows two years to file a claim.

A judge must appoint a ‘representative’, or administrator of the estate.  As explained above, the ‘representative’ will act on behalf of the estate during the lawsuit.

Once the estate is in place, your attorney will begin filing paperwork to begin the lawsuit. At this point several variables will come into place regarding how quickly your suit is either settled or brought to trial. Your attorney should carefully walk you through the variables and provide you with reasonable expectations.

How wrongful death suits are handled at Finkelstein & Partners, LLP:

The attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners, LLP have handled thousands of wrongful death cases. Our main concern is providing you with all of the options available to you, and allowing you to make the decisions that will permit you to heal and move forward after a tragedy occurs. Our team of legal professionals will serve as tireless advocates for you and your family.

Recent wrongful death results

$3.2 Million Settlement: Wrongful Death

When suing the State of New York for a poorly designed road, the trial is heard not by a jury, but by a State-appointed Judge. George Levy, a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York, successfully argued the State failed to correct a road following multiple crashes at the same location. The Judge agreed and held the State fully accountable for the one car crash that killed a wife and mother of two from Dutchess County. Mr. Levy argued successfully that the children not only lost their parental guidance, but also religious guidance. The children’s Mom actively brought the children to Sunday school and church. Following her death, the father did not actively bring the children and the Court made a substantial award for lack of religious guidance. The case was handled by Senior Trial Partner George Levy.

$2.3 Million Settlement : Workplace Death

General contractors and property owners have the absolute responsibility to protect workers from falls of heights. New York Labor Law Section 240 requires it. When our client, a roofer, was not provided a tie off or appropriate scaffolding that would have protected him from falling from the roof he was working on, he fell to the ground and was killed. After starting a suit and conducting depositions, the Judge agreed the general contractor and property owner failed to provide the very safety device that would have prevented our client’s death. The case was settled for $2,300,000 by Managing Partner Andrew Finkelstein and Trial Partner Kenneth Fromson.

$1.2 Million Settlement: Wrongful Death

New York has a Wrongful Death Law that is the worst in the country.  The law does not recognize the grief and sorrow a family member goes through when their loved one is unexpectedly killed by a negligent party.  Technically, the only recoverable “damages” available to compensate the family are the loss of services the deceased person provided.  This law is particularly cruel when the wrongful death is to a child or a retired person.  That did not stop our lawyers from pursuing a wrongful death case for the mom of a high school student who was killed when he was a passenger in a driver’s education car when the instructor was not paying attention and the fellow student entered an intersection in front of a tractor-trailer.  While we were unable to prove any conscious pain and suffering, we were prepared to let a jury determine what loss our client’s mom suffered.  Ultimately the insurance companies involved agreed to a total settlement of $1, 250,000.  While money can never replace a loved one, given New York laws limitations, this was one of the largest recoveries for a wrongful death case of a teenager.  The case was handled by Managing Partner Andrew Finkelstein.

$1.2 Million Settlement : Product Liability

A $1,200,000 settlement was reached for the estate of our client, who was killed by malfunctioning machinery at his job. A 37 year old Guyanese immigrant who took the steps to become an American citizen, he was working at a mattress factory even though he was eligible for unemployment after being laid off from his previous job. In fact, he would have made more money on unemployment, but chose to work instead to be a role model for his children. He was working with a machine that wraps mattresses in plastic. The plastic jammed, and our client shut off his machine and went underneath to release the plastic. The machine malfunctioned and started up again. It pulled him into the machinery, crushing him. This case settled at Mediation by attorneys George Levy and Elyssa Fried-DeRosa.

$1 Million Settled Before Trial : Pedestrian Hit

Our client was a retired, 67-year-old married man. He went to pick up pizza for dinner and was crossing the street when he was struck by a speeding vehicle. The defendant was driving his employer’s vehicle. Our client was in a coma from the time he was struck until he passed away a few days later. The case settled just before jury selection commenced. Attorneys Kenneth Bartlett, Marshall Richer and Managing Attorney Andrew Finkelstein successfully settled this case.

Contact A New York Wrongful Death Lawyer today

New York Wrongful Death lawyer
Wrongful Death Attorney, Andrew Finkelstein

You can contact us 24/7 by dialing 1-800-LAW-AMPM, through our live chat option, or by filling out a free case evaluation.

Our New York personal injury lawyers will carefully gather all of the details pertaining to your situation and will advise next steps.

Our personal injury and wrongful death case evaluations are always free of charge.

Grief resources:

 

HelpGuide.Org, a mental health and wellness website, describes grief as follows: Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss—and the more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be. Click here to read more.

Hospice Foundation of America offers the following insight regarding the process of grieving: Instead of a series of stages, we might also think of the grieving process as a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Like many roller coasters, the ride tends to be rougher in the beginning, the lows may be deeper and longer. The difficult periods should become less intense and shorter as time goes by, but it takes time to work through a loss. Even years after a loss, especially at special events such as a family wedding or the birth of a child, we may still experience a strong sense of grief.