When Does a Case Become a Wrongful Death?

When it comes to personal injury claims, despite the fact that they might end in hundreds of thousands in damages, they are generally the last thing anyone wants to deal with at all. And while certain cases are worse than others, the worse case scenario in such cases is when an individual’s negligent acts lead to an individual’s wrongful death. Wrongful death claims are something no one wants to deal with, regardless of how they end up occurring, no one wants to deal with the death of someone in their family. According to Mr. Joel Levine, Esq. the top wrongful death attorney NYC has to offer, wrongful death claims are brought against a defendant who has caused someone’s death, either through negligence or as a result of some intentional action. Wrongful death claims allow the estate and/or those close to a deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. Though each state’s wrongful death laws vary, these kinds of lawsuits are usually filed by a representative of the deceased person’s estate, often on behalf of surviving family members affected by the death.

When are Wrongful Death Claims Applicable?

The fact of the matter is that a wrongful death claim can arise after situations in which a victim who would otherwise have a valid personal injury claim, is killed as a result of the defendants’ wrongful actions. This can lead to a variety of different instances, including:
  • A Victim is Intentionally Killed: These situations are fairly common as, in the event of a criminal murder or manslaughter charge, the victims’ families can often bring about wrongful death claims against the murderer. These cases are separate from any criminal charges that may arise as a result of the murder or manslaughter charges.
  • Car Accident with a Negligent Driver: In the event a victim dies as a result of a car accident, and the case would otherwise lead to a personal injury claim against the driver due to their carelessness or their overall negligence – a wrongful death claim can be brought about against them now.

The fact of the matter is that in the event you have a personal injury claim, a general personal injury claim, in which the victim suffers injuries and those injuries, unlike a conventional claim, lead to the death of the victim – the case now becomes a wrongful death claim as opposed to a traditional personal injury claim. In order to hold the defendant liable for the wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs in the claim, generally the family or the estate of the deceased victim, must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet had the victim lived. So, using negligence as an example, this means showing that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, that the defendant breached this duty, that the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of the death, and that the death caused the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover.

According to Mr. Levine, the top wrongful death attorney NYC has practicing, a wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim. Exactly who those survivors can be varies from state to state. For more information on when a wrongful death is able to be filed, be sure to contact Levine & Wiss, PLLC today.