COVID-19 Notice: The Perecman Firm has returned to in-person operation in accordance with safety regulations set by New York State and CDC health officials. Our attorneys will continue to provide top-notch legal representation and are available to discuss your case in person, over the phone, via email or video.

How Do Wrongful Death Suits Work?

The statue of limitations in New York State for wrongful death is two years from the date of the accident.

A wrongful death lawsuit involves the death of a person that is caused by the negligence or malicious action of another person or company. The purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to compensate family members and-or dependents who will suffer as a result of the victim’s death. In order for a defendant (the person being sued), to be found liable for a wrongful death, the plaintiff (the person filing the suit) must prove that the victim would not have died if the defendant had not been negligent.

A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim. It’s easiest to contact an experienced lawyer to help with a wrongful death claim. The statue of limitations in New York State for wrongful death is two years from the date of the accident. It is two and a half years in the case of medical malpractice.

A lawyer may first try to settle the case. If the claim can be successfully settled, it does not go to trial. If the case cannot be amicably settled, the lawyer will prepare a Complaint and Summons that must be served on the defendants. The complaint is filed with a court to begin a wrongful death lawsuit. The complaint states the reasons why the defendant is getting sued by the plaintiff, the law that supports the plaintiff’s claims, and what compensation the plaintiff is demanding.

Each defendant has a specified time to answer the complaint. Typically, this response refutes the plaintiff’s claims and seeks to have the case dismissed.

After the lawsuit has been filed, the lawyers for both sides have an opportunity to obtain information from each other about the case. Discovery can take the form of written questions that are answered under oath, a deposition (interview) of the plaintiff and defendant in front of a court reporter, and-or requests for relevant documents and items. This discovery process allows each side to more accurately evaluate the potential strength of its position.

If either side has discovery disputes, such as an issue with a failure to respond, a motion may be filed to compel compliance. The judge can impose sanctions for violating discovery requests. Another legal argument sometimes made before a case goes to court is that one party is entitled to win without a trial. These arguments typically take the form of legal motions.

Both sides may attempt to engage in settlement negotiations throughout the litigation process.

A lawsuit will be set for trial if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached. At the end of this trial, the judge or jury will enter a verdict for the plaintiff or defendant. If the judge or jury determines that the defendants’ negligent, reckless or intentional acts caused a wrongful death, it will award the plaintiff damages based on the evidence.

Either of the parties can appeal if there was a significant legal error in the trial.

A wrongful death suit is over when an appeal is finished or a verdict entered and the time for appeal has run out.


No Fees Unless We Win Your Case

Call (212) 577-9325 for a Free Consultation

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.