Who Can Bring A Claim In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on October 29, 2010

in Buffalo Wrongful Death Issues

When a family in Buffalo suffers the loss of a loved one due to a wrongful act or negligence on the part of another, the personal representative of the estate may bring a lawsuit to recover damages.  The personal representative is usually the executor. 

If the personal representative of the estate refuses to pursue a claim, the distributees of the deceased individual are entitled to have an administrator appointed who will pursue the claim on their behalf.  In most cases, such a claim must be pursued within two years of the wrongful death.

Generally, the estate of the decedent has a claim for the deceased individual’s pain and suffering, and the distributees have a claim for loss of income and services to the household that were provided by the decedent.  The claim of the distributees is limited to economic loss and does not include an award for sorrow, mental anguish, injury to feelings or loss of companionship.

If damages are recovered and there are multiple distributees – for example, multiple surviving children – each distributee receives a proportion of the damages equal to his or her pecuniary loss.  How much each person actually receives is determined by the court following a hearing on the issue.

If a member of your family has suffered a wrongful death and you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office at 716-542-5444.  We would be happy to help you.

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