Wrongful Death Case
If your loved one has passed away, you may have a wrongful death case. Here is what you should know before you call an attorney to see if you have a case.
Wrongful Death Case | Loved One Was Murdered
While the most common cause for wrongful death suits is medical malpractice, some suits follow violent crimes. One famous example is the case of O.J. Simpson. Though a jury acquitted the football star of all murder charges in 1995, the Goldman family brought a civil suit for wrongful death in January of 1997. U.S. double jeopardy laws prevent Simpson from ever again being tried – and found “guilty” – for murder. However, in part because wrongful death cases have a lower burden of proof than murder cases (a “preponderance of evidence,” rather than “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”), a civil jury after five days of deliberations found Simpson “liable” for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, awarding $33.5 million to the Goldman family.
The statute of limitations on wrongful death cases in New York is two years. Wrongful death cases are sensitive, and the outcome of any suit depends on too many factors to make generalized predictions. If a loved one has died because of another’s negligence or crime, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.
Wrongful Death Case | Loved One Passed Away After an Accident
Accidents resulting in death are very different from all other types of personal injury cases. In most personal injury cases, the claimant needs to demonstrate the extent of any injuries sustained, and establish the legal responsibility of the other party.
If a loved one has died in an accident resulting from another’s negligence or crime, you may be entitled to make a claim for “wrongful death.” Some common causes for wrongful death claims are medical malpractice, vehicle accidents, occupational exposure to hazards, crime, or death during a supervised activity. In any case, the claimant has to demonstrate “pecuniary injury”: loss of support or services from the deceased, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses. A jury and judge may award additional “punitive damages” in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing. That said, New York State law and precedent do not allow survivors to recover damages for pain and suffering caused by the death – these would include emotional suffering, loss of companionship, etc. – even if the deceased is a parent or child.
Our Rochester wrongful death lawyers can help you determine if you have a wrongful death case. Please call our office today to schedule a consultation.