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Wrongful Death
Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs And Kool And The Law Office Of William A. Gallina, LLP

NEW YORK WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY

Wrongful Death

Our New York wrongful death attorneys understand the severe emotional strain caused by an unexpected death. The loss of a loved one is never easy to cope with; in addition to the emotional hardships caused by an unexpected death, families may also face considerable financial strain. In some cases, the sudden death of an individual can cause their family to lose an essential income. Furthermore, victim's families may face high medical bills that the deceased incurred prior to death. As a result, victim's families may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit if their loved one's death was caused by another party's negligence.

At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool And The Law Office Of William A. Gallina, LLP, our wrongful death attorneys realize that the sudden loss of a loved one will be one of the most difficult and stressful times of our clients' lives. While we can't alleviate the sense of pain and loss caused by an unexpected death, we do our best to help lessen the financial burden by pursuing maximum compensation in court. In fact, our wrongful death attorneys have recovered over $100 million in wrongful death cases.*

Do I Have Grounds For A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

New York wrongful death claims arise when an individual dies as a result of the negligent act of another person or entity. As in other types of cases, "common law" negligence principles apply, whereby the responsible party can be found liable if it is proven that the death was caused due to the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances of the accident. A wrongful death could occur through any type of accident, including but not limited to an automobile accident, construction accident, fall down accident or medical malpractice.

In order to have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, the family of the victim must be able to prove that the responsible party acted negligently; this means the responsible party must have had a duty of care (a legal responsibility to act with a degree of caution when performing potentially dangerous actions) to the victim. If the responsible party violated their duty of care, then they acted negligently. The family of the victim must also be able to prove that the responsible party's negligence was the direct cause of death. Additionally, the victim's death must have inflicted economic or non-economic damages on the family.

Who Is Entitled To Sue In A Wrongful Death Claim?

Parents, spouses and children are eligible to file a claim, although minors may need an adult guardian to bring a lawsuit. In some cases, other family members or legal dependents may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

What Types Of Wrongful Death Claims Does Your Firm Handle?

Our attorneys handle all forms of wrongful death claims, including but not limited to:

What Types Of Compensation Are Available To The Victim’s Family?

Retaining a leading wrongful death attorney to institute a wrongful death lawsuit is of paramount importance not only to prove liability against the defendant(s), but also because of New York's restrictive and nuanced laws as they relate to what monetary damages can be recovered in a wrongful death action.

Wrongful death cases in New York are governed by the New York Estates, Powers and Trust Laws (also known as the EPTL). Section 5-4.1 of the EPTL is entitled "action by personal representative for wrongful act, neglect or default causing death of decedent." This statute authorizes a representative of the estate (usually a surviving family member) to bring a legal action for wrongful death. In simpler terms, a family member is customarily appointed administrator of the decedent's estate and is in effect the plaintiff bringing the lawsuit. However, it should be noted that the person appointed administrator is not determinative of how much compensation they or other family members may be entitled to as a result of the death of a loved one. Section 5-4.3 of the EPTL governs the type of losses that can result in monetary damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute is a pecuniary loss statute, which means that all allowable damages under this statute are limited to, and measured by, economic loss.

Economic Loss in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The most common example of economic loss suffered in a wrongful death action involves the death of a loved one who financially supported the family. In such instances, our wrongful death attorneys routinely will retain an economist to provide his or her opinion on the economic loss that is suffered by the next of kin. The calculation of economic loss can be more complicated than one might expect, since it is not as simple as merely determining what a wage earner would have earned during his or her life expectancy, had he or she survived. Wage increases must be considered, as well benefits that the family may have lost such as medical, pension and/or annuity benefits. Moreover, a personal consumption analysis must be made by the economist hired by your law firm. Indeed, the loss to the family is not the entire income of the decedent, but rather the income of the victim minus any amount they would have personally consumed. It is much better to address such issues head on, rather than leaving them to the defendant to undermine the credibility of your client's own expert for failing to perform a complete and accurate analysis.

Although the Estates, Powers and Trust Law limits losses to pecuniary or economic damages, a family's economic damages can be measured in other ways beyond the deceased's income. For example, there is an economic value of the loss of services of the decedent to the surviving spouse. A jury can evaluate such services and assign an economic loss to them, which serves as a measure of economic damages that can be recovered by the surviving spouse. Similarly, if the decedent had children, there is an economic value that can and should be evaluated to determine the value of the loss of parental guidance suffered by the decedent's children. Typically, monetary awards in such cases are heavily dependent on the age of the surviving child. For instance, the loss of parental guidance to a 2-year-old is typically greater than the same loss to an 18-year-old. However, contrary to misconceptions among lawyers inexperienced in this area of New York law, children of any age have a legal right to monetary recovery for the loss of the advice and care of a parent who suffered wrongful death.

Pain & Suffering In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of an individual who has suffered a wrongful death may also be able to recoup compensation for pain and suffering. This cause of action is outside the EPTL and does not involve economic loss. Rather, it involves monetary compensation to the decedent (and thus to his or her estate) for any pain and suffering they endured prior to death as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The period of time of pain and suffering could be seconds, minutes, hours, days or even years. Our wrongful death attorneys typically hire forensic medical experts in such cases – especially when there are serious issues as to the length and nature of any pain and suffering that occurred prior to death. The length and nature of any suffering are the focus of a jury in determining this aspect of damages, and thus it is imperative to prepare to prove the same for purposes of any settlement and for a potential trial.

Can I Receive Compensation For My Emotional Distress Following The Wrongful Death Of A Relative?

Unfortunately, New York is among the few states that do not permit monetary damages for the emotional distress caused by the loss of a loved one. Our clients are often shocked when learning of this limitation. Our New York wrongful death attorneys view these laws as antiquated and unfair; we are active in lobbying the New York State Legislature to try to get these laws changed and to allow compensation for the emotional distress caused by the loss of a loved one.

In some cases, however, it should be noted that there is an important exception in New York State to the general rule which precludes compensation for negligent infliction of emotional distress. This is commonly known as the "zone of danger" exception. The exception applies if the family member was actually present and/or observed the accident which caused the death of his or her loved one. In such cases that the aggrieved family member was in this zone of danger at the time of the accident, he or she may be entitled to a legal recovery for the emotional distress caused by the negligence of the defendant. The zone of danger rule is yet another example of New York's nuanced and multifaceted wrongful death laws, making the choice of one's wrongful death attorney especially important.

Do Your Attorneys Handle Accidental Death Or Dismemberment Cases?

Yes. Our wrongful death attorneys have been helping families recover compensation for over 60 years – this includes cases of accidental deaths or dismemberments. Our lawyers will treat you and your family with compassion while we aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.

Losing a loved one is traumatic under any circumstances, but when the death is sudden and unexpected, the survivors suffer even greater pain. An accidental death typically leaves a family in emotional and financial distress, unsure of how to move forward. Additionally, our attorneys can help people who have suffered an accidental dismemberment, such as the amputation of an arm, hand, leg or foot. This type of permanent disfigurement and disability will incur significant medical costs. The injured victim and his or her family may need compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost income.

There are serious financial consequences of an accidental death or dismemberment. We will help you calculate the compensation you will need for your expenses. We work with economic experts to calculate the loss of the victim’s future earnings, as well as your family’s future expenses. Compensation may cover losses such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral costs
  • The loss of a loved one/emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering of the victim, when appropriate
  • Lost wages

People who are faced with an accidental death or dismemberment may need legal representation to obtain compensation from the negligent party, as well as from their own insurance policies. Our wrongful death attorneys successfully fight insurance companies for compensation every day and can help you take on your insurance carrier or that of the negligent party.

Victims’ Families Should Contact A New York Wrongful Death Attorney Immediately

Due to the statute of limitations, it is important for families of deceased individuals to seek the counsel of a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. In most cases, the statute of limitations for New York wrongful death lawsuits is 2 years. The statute of limitations is a law that specifies the amount of time an individual has to file a claim following an incident. Failure to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires can result in victim's families being forever barred from the compensation they may be eligible to receive. As a result, it is imperative that victim's families hire a lawyer who will handle their claims in a timely manner. Our wrongful death attorneys have decades of combined experience handling claims. We understand all of the time constraints posed by the statute of limitations. Our attorneys file all of our clients' claims in a timely manner so that they may be eligible to receive compensation for the damages caused by their loved one's death.

Top New York Wrongful Death Attorneys

Our attorneys are recognized as leaders in New York wrongful death trial law. 6 of our attorneys have achieved AV Preeminent status with Martindale-Hubbell representing the highest ranking for ethical standards and legal ability. 5 of our attorneys have been included in Super Lawyers® in the New York Metropolitan Area as published in the Magazine Section of the New York Times. Our firm is listed among the Best Lawyers® in the State of New York and is listed among the Best Law Firms in the New York Metro area by US News & World Report.

Wrongful Death Lawyers

Our Notable Verdicts & Settlements In Wrongful Death Cases*

Our New York wrongful death attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Some of our more notable verdicts and settlements include:

$46 Million
A woman who died due to a medical misdiagnosis. The Plaintiff went to the hospital complaining of chest pains. An internist initially diagnosed her with septic shock caused by a stomach infection. Following the diagnosis, the internist ordered intravenous fluids. The patient, however, did not have a stomach infection – her lungs were filling up from congestive heart failure. As a result, the intravenous fluids caused the patient to drown.
$13.2 Million
As a result of medical negligence, a mother died during childbirth. Her family called our wrongful death attorneys and we were able to achieve a $13.2 million verdict and $8 million settlement.
$8.1 Million
The family of a New York City woman received a settlement of $8.1 million after she died due to a medication overdose in a hospital.
$7 Million
The family of a woman was awarded $7 million after she died during the delivery of her baby.
$5.05 Million
A Queens woman died after being struck and dragged by a bus. Our wrongful death attorneys obtained a $5.05 million jury verdict.
$4.5 Million
A woman who died following a transfusion of contaminated blood. Her husband was awarded $4.5 million.
$4.5 Million
A mother died as a result of OB/GYN malpractice.
$4.2 Million
The family of a woman who died at childbirth as a result of medical malpractice was awarded $4.2 million.
$4 Million
A man who died as a result of a delay in diagnosing and treating tuberculosis. His wife and daughter received a $4 million settlement.
$4 Million
The family of a woman killed in a car accident received $4 million.
$4 Million
The family of a victim who died due to a failure to diagnose meningitis was awarded $4 million.
$3.9 Million
The family of a corrections officer who died as a result of negligent medical treatment following an asthma attack at work.
$3.9 Million
The family of a mother who died from complications following a C-section was awarded $3.9 million.
$3 Million
The family of a mother of 2 children was awarded $3 million after the victim passed away following complications from gastric bypass surgery.
$2.7 Million
The family of a Bronx NYPD detective was awarded $2.7 million. The victim sustained internal bleeding following an abdominal surgery which was not timely noticed and addressed, resulting in his death.
$2.4 Million
The family of a 26-year-old Bronx woman was awarded $2.4 million after the woman died from blood poisoning caused by bedsores.
$2.35 Million
The family of a man who died because of a failure to diagnose bowel obstruction was awarded $2.35 million.
$2.3 Million
The family of a woman who died following childbirth received a $2.3 million settlement.
$1.6 Million
The family of a 91-year-old woman who resided at the Defendant’s nursing home was awarded $1.6 million. Plaintiff was given sulfa medication, to which she had a known allergy; she developed severe burns as a reaction to the sulfa and died.
$1.5 Million
The family of a pregnant mother of 7 children was awarded $1.5 million. The victim suffered a heart attack and passed away after being improperly taken off of her blood pressure medications.
$1.3 Million
The estate of a woman who died following a misdiagnosis of Hodgkin's disease was awarded $1.3 million.
$1.25 Million
The family of a 3-year-old Bronx child received a $1.25 million settlement for the death of their child.
$1 Million
The family of a man who died from a pulmonary embolism was awarded $1 million. The hospital did not properly treat the pulmonary embolism, resulting in the victim’s death.
$850K
The family of a 69-year-old Bronx man received a $850k settlement after the man died during a colonoscopy.
$500K
The family of an 83-year-old woman received a $500k settlement after a harmful blood thinner caused her to bleed to death - U.S. District Court.

How Do I Schedule A Legal Consultation Regarding A Wrongful Death?

If someone you love has suffered a wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation with our New York wrongful death attorneys, call our Manhattan office at 212.406.1700, our Bronx office at 718.892.0400 or contact us online. We will review your case and discuss your legal options with you. The attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool And The Law Office Of William A. Gallina, LLP take all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our services are free of charge unless there is a monetary recovery. Our law firm is proud to serve the New York City area, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, as well as the surrounding counties and New Jersey. We offer legal services in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese.

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212.406.1700

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718.892.0400

NEW YORK CITY
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233 BROADWAY
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NEW YORK, NY 10279

212.406.1700

BRONX
lOCATION

1250 WATERS PLACE
SUITE 708
BRONX, NY 10461

718.892.0400

Queller, Fisher, et. al., LLP
Personal Injury Lawyers Serving NYC

*PRIOR RESULTS CANNOT AND DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR OUTCOME WITH RESPECT TO ANY FUTURE MATTER, INCLUDING YOURS, IN WHICH A LAWYER OR LAW FIRM MAY BE RETAINED. VERDICTS ARE SUBJECT TO REDUCTION AND MODIFICATION ON APPEAL.

*AV PREEMINENT AND BV DISTINGUISHED ARE CERTIFICATION MARKS OF REED ELSEVIER PROPERTIES INC., USED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MARTINDALE-HUBBELL CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES, STANDARDS AND POLICIES. MARTINDALE-HUBBELL IS THE FACILITATOR OF A PEER REVIEW RATING PROCESS. RATINGS REFLECT THE CONFIDENTIAL OPINIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE BAR AND THE JUDICIARY. MARTINDALE-HUBBELL RATINGS FALL INTO 2 CATEGORIES: LEGAL ABILITY AND GENERAL ETHICAL STANDARDS.