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Wrongful Death Laws in New York

The loss of a loved one may be one of the most challenging things to deal with in life and this is especially true when the loss was preventable. In those situations, another person or company could be held fully or partially responsible and be forced to pay damages to family members through a wrongful death lawsuit. The specific elements of establishing a wrongful death depend on the laws in the jurisdiction where the action occurred.

Summary of Wrongful Death Laws in New York

It's important to know the details of a statute, but it's also valuable to get an understanding of the law by using a helpful overview. Read the chart below for a summary of statutes that comprise New York's wrongful death laws.


New York Consolidated Laws, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law:

  • Section 5-4.1 (action by personal representative for wrongful act, neglect or default causing death of decedent)
  • Section 11-3.3 (limitations upon recovery where injury causes death)

New York Consolidated Laws, Public Authorities Law:


Individuals Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit

New York law allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The decedent's spouse;
  • The decedent's children;
  • The decedent's parents; and
  • The personal representative for the estate of the decedent.

Grounds for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

To file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York, the following requirements must be shown:

  • The death of a person;
  • The death was caused by wrongful conduct or negligence of another;
  • The wrongful conduct/negligence could be subject of a lawsuit where the person harmed could've recovered damages (such as pain and suffering) if they didn't die; and
  • There are survivors who have suffered specific damages due to the death.

Notice of Claim

No wrongful death action against a public authority or public benefit corporation may proceed unless a notice of claim has been served on the authority or corporation according to New York general municipal law.

Statute of Limitations

The lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the date of the person's death.

Possible Defenses

The damages in wrongful death laws are for the survivors or the estate and are awarded to compensate for economic damages resulting from the death. There are various damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit, including the following:

  • Lost earnings;
  • Loss of support;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Funeral and burial costs; and
  • Pain and suffering damages.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Wrongful Death Laws in New York: Related Resources

Contact a Lawyer About Wrongful Death Laws in New York

Nothing can take away the pain of losing a loved one, but if the loss is due to another party's wrongful conduct or negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages. A lawyer understands New Jersey's wrongful death laws and can determine whether you have a valid claim; contact a local personal injury attorney right away to learn more.

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