The trauma of losing a loved one will affect every single person in the family indiscriminately, but when it comes to claims for wrongful death damages, only certain family member will be eligible for such damages in New York civil court. This post will discuss who those family members are so that readers can generally gain some measure of where they stand in terms of their own potential wrongful death cases.
Usually, courts will evaluate a variety of factors when deciding who is eligible for compensation in a wrongful death claim. For example, the court will look at the deceased person's family relationships with the family members that survived him or her.
Usually, courts will allow for wrongful death damages to be claimed by spouses, children and/or parents. In most cases, spouses can assert claims relating to loss of companionship and emotional trauma. Children, who are still minors, might be able to pursue claims for loss of the relationship with their parent -- including the loss of support and comfort. Parents of minor children may also have claims relating to loss of companionship and emotional trauma.
The extent of wrongful death awards may also depend on the unique facts and circumstances surrounding the deceased individual's death. For example, courts may decide to award punitive damages if the person or entity responsible for the individual's death was guilty of carrying out some kind of egregious or unlawful behavior. Punitive damages are awarded as a kind of monetary punishment for the wrongful behavior, and they are intended to deter the defendant and others from doing something similar in the future.