back of ambulance-wrongful death

Wrongful death affects many Americans each year. In New York State alone, the National Safety Council estimates that nearly 9,000 deaths per year are attributed to preventable or accidental injuries, excluding intentional events. Do you have a loved one whose life ended prematurely due to a wrongful death? A New York City wrongful death lawyer can explain your rights and help you and your family recover damages from the tragic event.

Who Is Roth & Roth?

Roth & Roth is an experienced team of New York injury attorneys. We represent people whose family members have died due to the wrongful actions of another party. We understand how difficult it is to deal with these situations, and we are here to help. You don't need to go through the legal system alone, and you’re entitled to legal compensation for your losses. We have helped countless New Yorkers recover damages for the wrongful deaths of their family members. We work on a variety of cases, from the more straightforward to the most complex. We are available to help our clients avail themselves of their constitutional rights, and that includes seeking compensation for a wrongful death case.

We understand that a lawsuit can never bring back your loved one. However, we can help you receive the monetary awards you’re entitled to from the offending party. These awards can substantially ease your financial burden during this difficult time. Our highly skilled and empathetic team will guide you through the complexities of the legal system every step of the way. 

Roth & Roth has been successfully representing individuals and families throughout the State of New York for over 25 years. Contact us to discuss your options if you or someone you know was injured or killed in New York due to someone else's wrongdoing. Initial consultations are always free and we never get paid unless and until you do.

Wrongful death occurs when a party's wrongful or negligent actions result in another party's death. Most people believe that wrongful death will never affect them or their loved ones. However, according to a 2016 John Hopkins study, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., making up more than 250,000 deaths per year. 

Medical malpractice resulting in death is only one type of wrongful death suit. Wrongful death claims come in many forms, some are commonly linked to:

The offending party may have apologized sincerely. They may have explained that it was "just an accident" and "it could have happened to anyone." However, wrongful death is caused by someone doing something negligent or wrongful, such as texting while driving, an activity that is banned in 48 states. 

No matter how sorry the other party is, apologies can't bring back your loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit holds the negligent party responsible and seeks financial compensation for the harm they caused.

What should I look for in a New York City wrongful death lawyer?

When seeking a wrongful death lawyer in New York, there are a few things you should consider, including experience, empathy, and prior results. You want a firm that has been in existence for decades and that is respected in their field, among both their clients and colleagues.

Your wrongful death attorney should have experience handling similar cases and should generally be able to cite examples of prior cases with similarities to your situation. 

It is also crucial for you to choose a wrongful death attorney who displays empathy and compassion for their clients. This time will likely be difficult for you, and your experience dealing with the legal system shouldn't add further emotional trauma.

Who gets money in a wrongful death lawsuit?

When you win a wrongful death lawsuit against an offending party, the survivors of the deceased receive the monetary payout. This may include the deceased's spouse, children, or other family members. If there is no spouse but several children, the settlement will be distributed equally among them.

What are the elements of a wrongful death claim?

According to the New York City Bar, there are various elements to a wrongful death claim. Your New York wrongful death attorney will need to prove that:

  1. The defendant (offending party) acted negligently.
  2. The negligence was the cause of the decedent's death.
  3. Surviving beneficiaries or dependents exist, such as a spouse, children, or other dependents.
  4. The decedent sustained pain and suffering or fear of impending death
  5. The victim supported or would have supported his or her heirs
  6. The survivor or survivors have suffered from financial damage as a result of the untimely death.

In order to succeed your wrongful death attorney will need to prove some of these elements.

If the decedent’s wrongful death was caused through a violation of Federal Civil Rights, different damages can apply. An attorney that is experienced in both Civil Rights and wrongful death can make the difference for a successful outcome.

Who can sue for wrongful death in New York?

A wrongful death attorney can explain to you that in New York the rule is slightly different than in some other states. In New York, only the personal representative or administrator of the estate of the person who suffered the wrongful death can file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

What can a wrongful death attorney do for me?

Working with a wrongful death lawyer can make the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim much more straightforward. First, they can help obtain and organize your documents to ensure you have enough requisite proof of the wrongful death. Then, they can plead your case in court. They can also make a claim for significant monetary damages to be awarded to you and the decedent's survivors. 

Survivors working with a wrongful death attorney typically receive more significant settlements than those who attempt to claim damages without the help of an experienced wrongful death law firm. Your dedicated wrongful death attorney will know which items can be added to the list of damages, and which cannot. In addition, your lawyer will make every attempt to receive full damages awarded to your family for the wrongful death of your loved one.

How do I pay a wrongful death attorney?

A wrongful death attorney works on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is similar to working on commission. The attorney only gets paid if the lawsuit is successful. If the case is successfully resolved the attorneys receive a percentage of that award. This means you do not pay them while they work on the case. If your attorney wins the estate a recovery, their payment will be taken from the settlement or damage award after the Court approves the fee amount.

Should I speak to the other party's insurance company after a wrongful death?

It's best that you do not speak to the other party's insurance company after a wrongful death until you have consulted a wrongful death attorney.

If you witness the accident, do your best to document the accident by speaking to potential witnesses, getting their contact information, and taking pictures of the scene. Then, when asked, give a straightforward statement to the police. Afterward, your wrongful death law firm will be able to request the police report.

What types of compensation can be awarded in a wrongful death case?

In general, awards in a wrongful death case are typically separated into two types of compensation. The party may be awarded damages for economic losses and non-economic losses.

Economic losses. These refer to financial losses that are concrete and relatively straightforward to prove. They are often related to the victim's death, such as hospital bills incurred before death and funeral expenses. Economic losses can also include monetary losses associated with the deceased's future income, loss of benefits from their employment, and interest on the damages based on the date of death.

Non-Economic losses. These refer to losses that are more difficult to put a price tag on, such as loss of spousal companionship or parental guidance, pain and suffering, or punitive damages.

Additionally, if the decedent suffered pain and suffering or fear of impending death those are compensable damages as well. In Federal Civil Rights cases the loss of life is compensable as well.

Will my wrongful death case go to trial?

At Roth & Roth, we prepare every case for trial. With any lawsuit, there is always a chance that the case will settle. Many wrongful death cases are settled out of court. You are more likely to settle out of court if your wrongful death lawyer is experienced and has the know-how to present a particularly strategic and strong case. 

How long do I have to file an accidental death or wrongful death claim in New York?

For most wrongful death claims in New York, the statute of limitations is two years from the victim's death (N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.1 (2021). However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. For example, if the victim died in a car accident, an additional deadline applies such as 30 days to submit a claim for no-fault insurance death benefits.

For municipal cases, the 90-day deadline and 1-year deadlines also apply. 

As a guideline, the family should contact a wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible to ensure all claims are filed in a timely manner within the appropriate statute of limitations.

What is a Comparative fault state?

A Comparative fault state allows the jury to assign a percentage of fault to each party, up to 100%. The higher the victim's percentage of fault, the lower the award. For example, if a victim suffers $100,000 in damages and is found to be 25% at fault for the accident, then the damages awarded would be $75,000, or $100,000 minus 25%. 

New York is a pure comparative fault law state (N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 1411). This means that in New York, the injured party can receive damages even if they contributed somewhat to their injury.

In comparison, in a modified comparative fault state, the party that is primarily liable is prohibited from collecting damages. In the above example, if the victim was found to be 51% liable, they would be barred from receiving any damages. 

In one of our cases, a Defendant that was found only 5% at fault paid over a million dollars after the verdict to settle that 5%.

What happens if the person who caused the accident doesn't have insurance or enough insurance coverage?

Whenever you are involved in an accident, you hope that the other party is responsible and has appropriate insurance coverage. But if they don't have insurance or don't have enough, there are still options. For a car accident, you can either file an under or uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company, or you can file a suit against the negligent party. 

Roth & Roth knows how to investigate and find layers of potentially available insurance no matter what type of accident caused the harm. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to contact a wrongful death attorney to explore your options more fully as things can get complicated.

Wrongful death suits can feel overwhelming. It is vital to understand your rights during this difficult time. Having a strong, knowledgeable, and compassionate advocate in your corner is key to aiding in your family's recovery. 

We never get paid unless and until you do - contact us to learn more about your options.

If you have been affected by a wrongful death, please call Roth & Roth at (212) 425-1020 or fill out our contact form to find out how we can help you fight for your rights.

“Roth & Roth were very helpful. They always made me feel comfortable and at ease. They prepared me very well so I wasn’t nervous. I have recommended Roth & Roth to members of my family. And what’s more, I’m happy that even after my case was settled, they still took the time to answer any questions I had.”
Roth & Roth Client
“Roth & Roth fully prepared us during the case and put my family at ease through each step in the case. I would definitely recommend Roth & Roth to anyone who needs caring, competent attorneys who will get the best result and treat you like a person while doing so.”
Roth & Roth Client
“Roth & Roth handled my personal injury case efficiently, satisfactorily and with expertise. I was kept informed every step of the way. I appreciated their support and guidance. All calls were always returned. They were always willing to listen. I was kept apprised of everything about my case. I will recommend Roth & Roth to anyone in need of an attorney.”
Roth & Roth Client
“It was a good experience working with Roth & Roth. They cared about me and the outcome of my case. David is magnificent! Audra is sweet and caring. If I needed to call, and the person was not in, someone always got back to me. I always felt they cared about me.”
Roth & Roth Client
“Working with Roth & Roth was a wonderful experience and felt like they were like family … like my relatives. When David was busy, I spoke to Audra. When Audra was busy, I spoke to David. Everything was explained to me – and no matter how many times I asked the questions, they gave me the answers in a way I would understand.”
Roth & Roth Client
“David Roth is a hard worker. I worked with Audra when she joined the firm. Everything was explained to me and they always answered any questions I had. They were always available for me. I have some friends who looked for lawyers and I recommended Roth & Roth. I will always recommend them.”
Roth & Roth Client