When assessing if a defendant is liable for a wrongful death, the “duty of care” and the defendant’s behavior need to be considered.
“Duty of care” relates to whether or not the situation in question has crossed any legal boundaries in terms of the defendant’s conduct and responsibility. An example of this would be that all drivers have a duty of care to remain sober and follow the laws of the road while driving on a public road. Therefore, if a defendant is found to have been drunk driving, there will be a stronger case for them to be held liable.
A second consideration is whether or not the death would still have occurred if the defendant did not act in such a way, or even if the defendant was not there. If the death likely could have been prevented without the defendant’s behavior/negligence, then the case against may be stronger.
In the State of New York, the general statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the fatality. There are many exceptions which may sometimes alter the amount of time permitted to file a claim. It’s important to remember that the claim can be denied if it is not filed within the given time frame, so it is vital to file your claim as soon as possible.