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What makes a death ‘wrongful’ in the eyes of the law?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2021 | Wrongful Death

No person should lose their life in a workplace accident, but it happens thousands of times every year. When it does, those left behind may pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.

However, while any premature death can seem wrong to loved ones, there are specific rules for what makes one wrongful in the eyes of the law.

Legal grounds of a wrongful death claim

The phrase “wrongful death” can be misleading, as it is more about a fatality being a mistake. In New York, in order to prove a workplace fatality was wrongful, parties must show:

  • A person died due to an accident
  • The accident was the result of a party’s negligence, reckless conduct or failure to comply with statutory requirements
  • A victim would have been able to recover financial damages had they survived
  • Survivors experienced pecuniary (economic) losses as a result of the death

If a claim fulfills these requirements, courts may award damages to the survivors for “wrongful death” in addition to non-economic (pain and suffering) and economic damages sustained by the accident victim.

Other considerations 

There are also other rules for filing a wrongful death claim in New York, which is critical for loved ones to understand.

For instance, parties must file their claim within two years after a person passes away. And only certain people can file a wrongful death lawsuit, including a victim’s parents, child, spouse or personal representative.

Making your case matter

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,333 people killed in fatal work accidents in the U.S. in 2019. These accidents resulted from a variety of incidents, from car accidents and falls to toxic exposure and explosions.

However, your loved one is not just a statistic; they are individuals with a family and legacy that matter. And if they are victims of a wrongful death, you can talk to an attorney about holding the appropriate party responsible for the unique loss and damages suffered as a result of someone’s passing.

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