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Who files for wrongful death, and when must it be done?

The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one in a fatal car crash can have a devastating effect on the victim’s family. New York provides a method by which family members may receive compensation, but the law does not give them the right to file the claim. Instead, the personal representative of the deceased victim’s estate, be it an executor or administrator, must bring the lawsuit on behalf of the survivors.

Not permitting the family members of the victim of a fatal accident to file a wrongful death cause of action is just one of the ways in which New York differs from other states. Some states allow family members to receive compensation for their pain and suffering associated with the loss of a loved one, but New York does not allow for such damages. 

A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death. If the cause of action relates to a death caused by the criminal conduct of another person, the statute of limitations for bringing the wrongful death claim is one year from the end of the end of any criminal case pending against the person responsible for causing the death if the two-year statute of limitations has expired or has less than 12 months before it expires.

When an a family member is the victim of a fatal workplace accident or the medical malpractice of a doctor, his or her survivors could probably benefit from the legal advice and guidance of an attorney who is experienced with the laws pertaining to wrongful death. As informative as this posting is meant to be, it is not offered or intended as a substitute for the legal advice that only an attorney is authorized to offer.

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