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3 reasons plaintiffs often wait to explore wrongful death claims

For anyone coping with the death of a loved one, the days, weeks and months after the person dies can be a blur. If someone caused the death of your family member or friend, you may need to pursue legal options. In fact, because the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in the Empire State is two years, you likely need to act fast to seek compensation for your damages. 

In New York, only the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. If you are not the personal representative, you may need to work with the person protecting your legal rights. That, of course, takes time. Still, individuals often wait to explore filing a wrongful death claim. Doing so may be a big mistake. Here are three unwise reasons why plaintiffs delay action: 

1. They are mourning 

It is perfectly normal to feel morose, depressed or downright distraught after the death of a loved one. While you cannot put a time frame on dealing with grief, letting it delay important legal decisions may be a recipe for disaster. Instead, work with an attorney who understands both grief and the law. 

2. They do not understand liability 

Assigning blame for a loved one’s death can be challenging and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, if someone else caused the death of your friend or family member, you should hold him or her responsible. Note, authorities do not have to file criminal charges against the responsible party for you to proceed with a wrongful death claim. 

3. They do not fully comprehend the financial ramifications

If someone caused the death of your loved one, you may not immediately realize the consequences of the person’s death. While paying for a funeral is an immediate expense, you likely have several other costs you must address. Your damages may include the following: 

  •         Medical and other healthcare expenses for your deceased loved one
  •         Lost wages and future earnings
  •         Compensation for pain and suffering
  •         The value of lost inheritance
  •         Other damages 

New York’s statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim expires quickly. Rather than wait to explore your legal options, you must act quickly to receive just compensation for the damages you sustained when someone caused your loved one’s wrongful death. 

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