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Accidental fatalities and wrongful death claims

An accidental death, in many cases, is nothing more than that: an accident. As hard as it is to accept the loss of someone important to us, fatal accidents happen every day throughout the world.

Sometimes, however, a wrongfully acting, negligent or unlawfully acting individual or business causes a fatal event to occur. In these situations, surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim. But how do you evaluate the viability of a particular wrongful death case?

When can I file a wrongful death suit?

A wrongful death lawsuit will only be valid in certain circumstances. Even then, you will need to file a legal action, litigate the matter and prove your case before you can receive a favorable award of financial compensation. When evaluating the viability of such cases, personal injury lawyers look for the following four elements to be present:

  • Someone died.
  • Another party's negligence, wrongful action or intent to cause harm caused the death to happen.
  • Close family members and/or financial dependants have survived the death of the individual.
  • An executor or personal representative is appointed to the estate of the deceased.

Did your loved one die under the following circumstances?

There are many ways that a wrongful death can occur. However, the following circumstances are some of the most common wrongful death situations:

  • Medical malpractice, doctors' errors or surgical errors.
  • Car, plane, motorcycle, jet ski, airplane, scooter, skateboard and other kinds of accidents.
  • Exposure to hazardous substances or conditions.
  • Criminal behavior.
  • An accident during a supervised activity like a team sport.

It's important to act as soon as possible

For New York residents who have lost a loved one in a serious accident, it's important that they keep in mind the fact that various statutes of limitation will apply to their legal proceedings. What this means is that plaintiffs will have a limited period of time -- approximately two years following the death -- in which to file their claims. As such, the sooner plaintiffs move forward with their wrongful death lawsuits, the better.

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