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How Do You Know if You Have a Wrongful Death Case in NYC?

wrongful death case in NYC (1)


Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things you’ll ever experience, especially if it was due to someone else’s negligence. No amount of compensation can turn the clock back and change what happened, and it won’t make coping with your loss any easier. However, retrieving those losses and damages through a wrongful death claim can help you and your family manage the excessive financial responsibilities that come at the end of someone’s life.


Whether you’re seeking justice for your family member who passed away after being neglected in a nursing home or who was working in unsafe construction conditions, filing a wrongful death claim can help you hold the responsible party accountable, giving you peace of mind in this difficult time. If you’re unsure if you should file a claim for wrongful death, the following information will cover a few key aspects regarding what wrongful death means in NYC, how to determine if you have a case, and what damages you may be eligible to recover if successful.  

What Wrongful Death Means in NYC

Wrongful death occurs when a person or organization fails their legal responsibility (duty of care) to protect someone from high-risk situations or behaviors and subsequently causes someone’s death. In New York, to establish a wrongful death claim, you must have proof of the following elements: 

  • A death occurred 
  • The death was caused by the defendant’s negligence 
  • The deceased could have taken legal action against the defendant if they didn’t die 
  • The deceased is survived by one or more persons who have suffered a loss as the result of the death 
  • The representative of the estate or immediate family members of the deceased suffered losses 


Some of these elements are harder to prove than others. Therefore, you’ll want to act immediately due to the time limit on how long surviving family members can pursue wrongful death claims. In Section 5-4.1 of New York’s Consolidated Estates, Powers, and Trusts Laws, the statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the deceased’s death.


Once the two-year mark passes, anyone that attempts to file a claim on behalf of your deceased family member will be denied eligibility, including a child or someone who is incapable of filing a claim. In cases involving a young child or incapable person, a legal guardian can pursue action within the allotted time frame. 

Am I Permitted to File a Wrongful Death Case in NYC? 

Not every family member grieving the loss of a loved one is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Under New York Law, only the following individuals can pursue a wrongful death case: 

  • The decedent’s children
  • The decedent’s spouse
  • The decedent’s parents
  • The personal representative for the estate of the decedent 


Generally, siblings or cousins of the decedent are not legally entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, if they are the legal guardian or personal representative for the decedent’s estate, and there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, they may be able to. 

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim in NYC? 

If your wrongful death claim is successful, the damages and losses you and your family will be awarded depend on the specific facts that were established in court. You’ll be required to show proof of bills and other expenses that you had to pay or take on as a result of your loved one’s death. Common economic damages compensated in New York wrongful death cases include: 

  • Medical expenses that accumulated while the victim was still alive 
  • Funeral expenses, including burial or cremation 
  • Lost wages that the decedent would have earned, including future wages 
  • Lost inheritance the decedent would have left behind 
  • Loss in parental guidance, such as nurturing, care, and guidance to surviving children 
  • Services that decedents would have provided, such as childcare or household chores


Unfortunately, New York does not grant surviving family members the ability to recover damages for the following: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental anguish or emotional trauma 
  • Loss of companionship 


It’s crucial that you are awarded enough compensation to cover your economic losses or you could suffer significant financial hardship in the future. A competent attorney will be able to review the details of your wrongful death claim to ensure all losses are recognized. 

NYC Trial Lawyers Achieving Justice for Our Clients 

At Dalli & Marino, LLP, we know that the loss of your loved one has brought excruciating pain to you and your family. Our NYC trial lawyers are committed to helping you reach a favorable settlement that will cover your losses, allowing you to obtain the closure you deserve so you can focus on caring for your family and getting your life back on track. While you’re grieving the loss of your loved one, you don’t have to handle the legal complexities associated with wrongful death cases alone. Let the attorneys at Dalli & Marino use their experience and expertise to help ensure you and other surviving family members are financially secure. 


Dalli & Marino is a full-service trial law firm focusing on personal injury law including construction accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, automobile accidents, and wrongful death claims. For over 20 years, we’ve been able to assist our clients in recovering millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements, and we’re eager to apply personalized attention and high-quality representation to your case in order to do the same for you. Call 888-465-8790 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation. 

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