Is There A Cap On How Much I Can Recover In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on September 19, 2011

in Buffalo Wrongful Death Issues

The purpose of a Buffalo wrongful death lawsuit is to ensure the surviving parties are compensated for their loss.  While no amount of money can replace a loved one, there are some specific areas – such as lost income to the household – where a cap on recovery may cause undue hardship to the decedent’s family.

As a result, under most circumstances there is no actual cap on how much the survivors can recover following a wrongful death.  Also, section 5-4.3 of the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law provides that in addition to the types of damages permissible under the law, “the reasonable expenses of medical aid, nursing and attention incident to the injury causing death and the reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent paid by the distributees [of the decedent’s estate], or for the payment of which any distributee is responsible, shall also be proper elements of damage.  Interest upon the principal sum recovered by the plaintiff from the date of the decedent’s death shall be added to and be a part of the total sum awarded.”

Moreover, the law provides that if a wrongful death was caused by the reckless or intentional conduct of the defendant, the survivors are entitled to punitive damages just as they would be in a personal injury lawsuit.  Punitive damages are awarded to the survivors for the purpose of punishing the defendant for his or her conduct and are over and above other damages such as reimbursement of medical expenses or lost income.

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