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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

If you have lost a loved one due to the reckless or careless actions of another person or party, you may be looking to file a wrongful death claim against them. However, not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim in New York. Our Oneonta wrongful death attorneys explain who can file a lawsuit in the event of a loved one’s tragic and untimely passing.

Parties Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In order to lawfully file a wrongful death claim for damages in the state of New York, you must be related to the deceased either by blood or marriage—with few exceptions.

The following individuals can bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court:

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased person
  • The surviving children of the deceased person
  • The surviving parent of the deceased person
  • The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate

In some cases, siblings, cousins, grandparents, or distant relatives may also be able to bring a claim if:

  • They were named as a personal representative of the deceased person and
  • The deceased has no surviving child, spouse, or parent

Other Factors That May Affect Who Files a Wrongful Death Claim

Wills & Trusts

Determining which surviving family members have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit can depend on whether the deceased had a will or trust. If so, a court-appointed executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate will bring the wrongful death lawsuit.

Disputes Among Surviving Family Members

A death in the family sometimes leads to contention among the surviving relatives. There may be disagreements in your family concerning who is entitled to damages and how much. Courts will typically only allow one wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the same person, so if two or more claims are filed the court will likely consolidate them into one.

The Statute of Limitations

In New York, you only have two years from the decedent’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the closest surviving member of the deceased is a minor child, they do not get an extension to file when they are of age. Fortunately, a guardian can file on their behalf.

Have you recently lost a family member due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness? Our Oneonta wrongful death attorneys will provide you and your family with empathetic and efficient legal services. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation.

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