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What qualifies as a wrongful death lawsuit?

New York City Wrongful Death Lawyers With Offices in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan & The Bronx

In the tragic event of losing a loved one, you may find yourself grappling with many complex emotions and questions. One pressing question might be whether the death could have been prevented, and if so, whether it qualifies as a “wrongful death” under New York law. In New York, a wrongful death is defined as one that occurs due to the negligence, wrongful act, or default of another individual or entity. While it is a subcategory of personal injury law, wrongful death claims are unique in that they focus on the harm experienced by the surviving family members rather than the victim.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Wrongful Death: In New York, a wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions result in another person’s death. To pursue a legal claim, one must prove various elements including duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and resulting damages.
  • Types of Damages: Damages in a New York wrongful death claim are primarily divided into economic and non-economic types. Economic damages include medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages, among others. New York is unique in limiting the types of non-economic damages that can be claimed.
  • Proving Negligence: To establish negligence in a wrongful death case, you must prove that the defendant had a duty of care, breached that duty, and that this breach directly caused the death and resulting damages. Collecting strong evidence is crucial for proving these elements.
  • Legal Assistance is Crucial: Given the complexities involved in wrongful death claims, skilled legal representation is invaluable. The Orlow Firm offers a full range of services from case analysis and comprehensive investigation to court representation.
  • Consult The Orlow Firm: If you’re facing a wrongful death case in New York City, don’t hesitate to consult experienced wrongful death lawyers. Call The Orlow Firm at (646) 647-3398 for a confidential consultation to explore your legal options.

To establish that a death is wrongful under New York law, certain elements must be proven. First and foremost, a death must have occurred. Secondly, the death must have been caused either by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. This could range from a car accident where the other driver was at fault, to medical malpractice, to incidents of workplace negligence.

Another crucial factor is the existence of a duty of care between the defendant and the deceased. For example, a doctor has a duty of care towards their patients, and a driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely on the road. If it can be demonstrated that this duty was breached, and that the breach was a direct cause of the death, then the case for wrongful death becomes stronger.

Furthermore, there must be surviving beneficiaries or dependents who have suffered some form of loss due to the death. This can be a financial loss, such as lost wages that the deceased would have earned, or non-economic losses like emotional suffering and loss of companionship. It is these surviving family members who are entitled to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation.

It’s also essential to consider the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in New York, which is generally two years from the date of the death. Missing this deadline can result in losing the right to file a lawsuit, so it’s crucial to consult with knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible.

Types of wrongful death cases can vary widely, encompassing everything from car accidents, construction accidents, and slip and falls, to more complex cases involving product liability or medical malpractice. The circumstances of the wrongful act, neglect, or default play a crucial role in determining what kind of damages may be awarded, how liability is established, and what legal strategies would be most effective in a claim.

If you find yourself facing such an unfortunate circumstance, it is crucial to consult with experienced New York wrongful death lawyers who can guide you through this complex process. At The Orlow Firm, we’re committed to providing compassionate and dedicated representation for those going through the difficult journey of a wrongful death claim. If you have questions about a wrongful death case in New York City, don’t hesitate to call us at (646) 647-3398 for a confidential consultation.

What are Damages in New York Wrongful Death Claims?

When navigating the legal maze of a wrongful death lawsuit in New York, one of the most critical aspects to understand is the types of damages you may be entitled to. Damages in wrongful death cases are designed to provide financial relief to the surviving family members who have suffered as a result of their loved one’s untimely death. These damages can be categorized into economic and non-economic damages, each serving to compensate different kinds of losses.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the more straightforward of the two, as they cover measurable financial losses. These can include:

  • Medical Expenses: If your loved one received medical treatment before their death that was directly related to the wrongful act or negligence, these costs could be recovered.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs: The costs associated with laying your loved one to rest can be significant and are usually covered as economic damages.
  • Lost Wages and Benefits: If the deceased was a breadwinner, the loss of their income can have a devastating impact on the family’s financial stability. Damages can be awarded to compensate for the loss of wages, benefits, and other forms of financial support that the deceased would have provided.
  • Loss of Inheritance: If the wrongful death has resulted in a loss of what surviving beneficiaries would have inherited, this can also be recovered.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are less tangible but equally important. They account for the emotional and psychological pain suffered by the family members due to the loss of their loved one. New York is unique in that it generally does not allow for the recovery of non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of companionship, except under specific circumstances such as in medical malpractice cases.

Punitive Damages

While rare, punitive damages may also be awarded in some New York wrongful death cases. These are not meant to compensate the family for their loss, but rather to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior and deter similar conduct in the future.

Given the complexities involved in determining the types of damages and calculating their appropriate amount, it is essential to consult experienced wrongful death attorneys who are well-versed in New York law. At The Orlow Firm, we work diligently to ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to, helping you navigate the intricate legal process with sensitivity and expertise.

Determining and proving damages in a wrongful death claim can be a complex and emotionally taxing process. The dedicated team at The Orlow Firm is here to assist you every step of the way. If you have any questions about damages in a New York wrongful death claim, we urge you to call us at (646) 647-3398 for a confidential consultation. Our experienced New York wrongful death lawyers can help you understand your rights and options, providing the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.

How do you prove Negligence in a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a New York wrongful death lawsuit, proving negligence is often the linchpin of a successful claim. Negligence is a legal term that essentially refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care, leading to harm or injury to another party. If you believe that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence, you’ll need to prove several key elements to establish your case successfully. Understanding these components and how they relate to New York law is crucial when seeking justice for your loved one.

Establishing Duty of Care

The first step in proving negligence is to establish that the defendant had a “duty of care” toward the deceased. This duty varies depending on the relationship between the parties and the situation at hand. For instance, a motorist has a duty to drive responsibly and follow traffic laws, while a healthcare provider has a duty to adhere to medical standards. Without this duty, there can be no claim of negligence.

Breaching the Duty of Care

Once a duty of care is established, you must then prove that the defendant breached this duty. A breach occurs when the defendant fails to meet the expected standard of care under the given circumstances. For example, if a driver runs a red light and causes a fatal accident, that action would constitute a breach of their duty to drive responsibly.


Proving causation is crucial in a New York wrongful death lawsuit. It’s not enough to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent; you must also show that this negligence directly led to your loved one’s death. This often requires expert testimony, such as from medical professionals or accident reconstructionists, who can provide an objective analysis that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the death.


Lastly, you need to show that the negligence resulted in damages, which, in a wrongful death claim, includes the death itself and the associated economic and non-economic losses suffered by the surviving family members. This often involves calculating lost earnings, funeral costs, and sometimes, depending on the case, non-economic damages like emotional suffering.

Given the complexities involved, gathering strong evidence is essential in building your case. This can include medical records, accident reports, eyewitness testimonies, and other types of documentation that can substantiate your claim of negligence. Skilled legal representation is invaluable in this challenging endeavor.

The Orlow Firm has a track record of successfully navigating the complexities of wrongful death lawsuits in New York City. Our dedicated team is committed to helping you prove negligence effectively, ensuring that you are well-positioned to receive the justice and compensation you deserve. If you suspect that your loved one’s death was caused by negligence and have questions about how to proceed, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call (646) 647-3398 to schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced New York wrongful death lawyers. We’re here to provide the legal guidance and emotional support you need during this difficult time.

How can The Orlow Firm help with my wrongful death claim?

Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit is a complex and emotionally taxing endeavor. During this challenging time, having a seasoned legal team by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. At The Orlow Firm, we offer comprehensive legal services to assist you in navigating the intricacies of a New York wrongful death claim.

Expert Legal Analysis

The first step in any wrongful death claim is a thorough evaluation of the case facts to determine if you have a viable claim. We examine all aspects of the case, including evidence, witness statements, and legal criteria, to provide you with a clear understanding of your legal options.

Comprehensive Investigation

Our team undertakes a meticulous investigation to gather all necessary evidence to prove negligence. This can include obtaining medical records, accident reports, and other pertinent documents, as well as consulting with experts like medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists.

Claim Preparation and Negotiation

After gathering all necessary evidence and information, we prepare a robust case aimed at achieving the maximum compensation for your losses. We also engage in negotiations with insurance companies, aiming for a settlement that fully compensates you. If an adequate settlement isn’t possible, we’re fully prepared to take your case to court.

Court Representation

Our experienced wrongful death attorneys are skilled litigators who can represent your interests in court effectively. We present compelling arguments backed by solid evidence, aiming to convince the jury or judge of the defendant’s negligence and your right to compensation.

Emotional Support and Compassionate Service

At The Orlow Firm, we understand the emotional toll that a wrongful death claim takes on the family. Our team is committed to providing not only expert legal assistance but also the emotional support you need to get through this difficult period.

Full-Service Legal Support

From the moment you engage our services until the resolution of your case, we offer full-service support. This includes handling all paperwork, legal filings, and communications, allowing you to focus on coping with your loss while we focus on securing justice on your behalf.

By choosing The Orlow Firm to represent you, you’re securing a dedicated, experienced team of New York wrongful death lawyers who will fight relentlessly for your rights and interests. If you have lost a loved one and believe it was due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential consultation. Call us today at (646) 647-3398 to learn how we can help you achieve the justice and compensation you deserve.