The Costs Of Grief
Losing a child has a unique psychological effect on the parents. Grieving the death of any loved one is always painful, but there’s something especially tragic about losing an infant before they even have a chance to experience life and the world around them. Parents in this situation often require grief counseling, miss extended periods of work, and may develop psychological disorders. According to WebMD, the risk of being hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder is greatest in the year immediately following the loss of a child, and stays elevated for the next five years.
These consequences of grief can all affect a family’s financial well-being. While taking legal action may not be a priority during such a dark time, it’s important to hold negligent parties responsible for causing a death and to seek financial assistance when your family needs it.
When Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit An Option In New York?
If you believe your infant’s death was preventable and are looking to hold negligent parties liable, you must meet prove five things:
- A death occurred
- The death was directly caused by the defendant’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default”
- The defendant’s negligence caused something to occur which would have given the deceased grounds for a lawsuit had they not died
- At least one surviving family member has suffered a loss because of the death
- The estate of the deceased can recover specific damages
These guidelines are outlined by the state of New York in the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Code, Part 4.
The Personal Representative Requirement
In New York, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate. This differs from most other states, where surviving families members are permitted to file these lawsuits, even if they don’t officially represent their loved one’s estate. A parent must first be appointed as a personal representative before filing a wrongful death suit. However, in these lawsuits, damages can be sought for other family members who are not personal representatives.
Time Limits For Wrongful Death Claims
New York has a statute of limitations which gives parents up to 2 years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This period begins immediately following the date you lost your loved one. If you fail to file a claim within this time frame, you will lose the right to take legal action.
Beginning The Legal Process
If you’ve recently lost an infant due to medical negligence, we understand the grief you’re going through. Taking legal action may seem intimidating and exhausting at a time like this, but for some people, holding liable parties responsible is an important part of the grieving process. Our lawyers are prepared to offer you compassionate legal counsel and to handle all aspects of the case on your behalf, so you can focus on spending time with family and offering each other the support you need.
To find out more about your legal rights after a birth injury or the unexpected death of a loved one, contact us today for a free consultation.