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Who may file a wrongful death claim?

Driving is the most dangerous mode of transportation nationwide, including in New York. Despite all the awareness campaigns to underscore the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, texting while driving and other risky behaviors, thousands of people die in car accidents each year. Although no amount of money can replace a loved one lost in a crash, filing a wrongful death claim could relieve the unanticipated financial and emotional damage sustained by the surviving family members.

Negligence or recklessness of another party must be established to have a viable wrongful death claim. This could involve another driver who intentionally or negligently caused the accident that led to the loved one's death. It could also result from criminal activity or the automaker if the wreck were caused by a manufacturing defect, as well as a variety of other reasons.

The representative of the deceased person's estate, on behalf of immediate family members, typically files a wrongful death lawsuit. It could be a spouse, parent or child of the deceased, or another individual appointed by the court. This type of lawsuit seeks a judgment for monetary damages due to end-of-life costs and other documented financial losses. 

This is a complicated field of the law and is best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. Legal counsel can explain the requirements for a viable wrongful death claim, some of which include establishing negligence that was the proximate cause of the accident victim's death. A lawyer can also ensure that the deadlines of the New York wrongful death statute are met.

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