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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New York

Every state in the nation has a set of laws that govern how wrongful death cases will proceed in the state. These laws include definitions of what is to be considered a wrongful death, as well as the available damages and the requirements to prove liability.

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about wrongful death claims in New York if you have a loved one whose death you believe was due to another person or entity’s negligence.

Wrongful death definition and filing

There are several elements needed to establish a wrongful death claim. A person must have died due to injuries caused by a defendant’s wrongful conduct, giving rise to a claim the deceased would have been able to pursue in court if still alive. The deceased must be survived by at least one person who suffered a loss due to the death, and there must be damages the estate can recover.

As for who can file a wrongful death claim, in New York the responsibility for beginning the legal action is that of the personal representative of the estate. This differs from other states, where a family member is able to initiate the claim. A family member may be the personal representative, but this ability falls solely under the representative’s purview.

That claim, though, may seek damages for any heirs, beneficiaries and family members. So, in essence, the personal representative brings the claim on behalf of the deceased’s family.


Damages in a wrongful death claim can include the following:

  • Medical, nursing and rehabilitative expenses related to the final injury or illness
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits between injury or illness and death
  • Compensation for the value of support, services, care and guidance to surviving family members and children
  • Lost inheritance for heirs and children
  • Interest on damages awarded from the date of death
  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased
  • In addition to wrongful death a claim for conscious pain and suffering may also be possible depending on the circumstances of the accident.

For more information about filing a wrongful death claim in the state, contact a trusted personal injury attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia LLP.