Losing a loved one due to someone else's negligence or intentional actions can be devastating. In such cases, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help provide some form of justice and compensation for the surviving family members. However, understanding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and the legal process involved can be complex. In this blog, we will provide you with essential information and useful tips to navigate through this challenging time.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Syracuse, NY?
1. Spouse or Domestic Partner:
If you were legally married to the deceased or in a registered domestic partnership, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It's important to note that common-law marriages are not recognized in New York.
In Syracuse, NY, biological and adopted children have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes both minor and adult children. However, stepchildren may not have the same rights unless they have been legally adopted by the deceased.
If the deceased did not have a spouse or children, their parents may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes biological and adoptive parents, but not stepparents unless they legally adopted the deceased.
4. Personal Representative:
If none of the above parties are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative of the deceased's estate may have the authority to do so. This individual is typically named in the deceased's will or appointed by the court.
5. Financial Dependents:
In some cases, individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This can include individuals such as siblings or grandparents who relied on the deceased for financial support.
Navigating the Legal Process
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit involves several legal complexities. It is crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. Here are some important steps to consider:
1. Gather Evidence:
Collect any evidence related to the incident that caused the wrongful death. This may include accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and photographs.
2. Consult an Attorney:
Seek legal advice from a reputable personal injury attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases. They will evaluate your case, provide guidance, and ensure your rights are protected.
3. File the Lawsuit:
Your attorney will help you file the wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is generally two years from the date of death in Syracuse, NY.
4. Negotiation or Trial:
Your attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the responsible party's insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, they will represent you in court and fight for your rights.
Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult experience, and understanding your rights in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is crucial. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is advisable to seek legal counsel from a trusted personal injury lawyer. At Cherundolo Law Firm, PLLC, we have a team of experienced wrongful death attorneys who can provide you with the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.