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How the courts can potentially provide closure after a tragic loss

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is a profound personal trauma. The closer the relationship is and the more unexpected the loss is, the more likely someone’s passing is to cause changes to someone’s personality and daily life.

Families struggling to cope with the tragic loss of a family member may feel like they have experienced a profound injustice. Particularly in scenarios where there is a clear connection between the actions or negligence of a business or person and the death, people may feel they need for justice. The New York civil courts can sometimes help families recover from an unexpected tragedy by hearing wrongful death lawsuits.

How can wrongful death lawsuits help those who have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence or intentional conduct?

The recovery of economic damages

New York has relatively restrictive wrongful death rules. Other states allow the pursuit of non-economic damages, such as the grief of the surviving family members or the loss of someone’s companionship. New York currently only allows for the recovery of economic losses. That being said, grieving families can potentially recover lost wages and other financial losses related to someone’s premature death if they prevail in civil court. A successful wrongful death lawsuit may lead to a court order requiring that an individual or business who caused someone’s death through negligence or misconduct repay the family for provable financial losses.

Feelings of closure and vindication

In some cases, the misconduct of one party is egregious enough to warrant criminal prosecution. A deadly drunk driving collision is an example. Other times, the misconduct or negligence of one party may not meet the necessary standard for criminal charges. The lack of legal culpability can seem like a miscarriage of justice in some cases. A successful wrongful death lawsuit results in the courts essentially acknowledging that one party is responsible for causing a death. The imposition of financial responsibility can be a reasonable consequence for someone not held accountable in criminal court.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be an appropriate response to a tragedy that affects a family. Those who explore their options in a timely manner after an unexpected loss may be in a position to take legal action after losing a loved one.