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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Construction Accident

By Dansker & Aspromonte

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July 20, 2024

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Losing a loved one in a construction accident is a heartbreaking and devastating experience. While nothing can truly compensate for such a loss, pursuing a wrongful death claim may provide some financial support and a sense of justice.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a legal action brought by the surviving family members or representatives of a deceased person whose death was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. In the context of a construction accident, it means pursuing legal recourse when a loved one loses their life due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a property owner, general contractor, subcontractor, equipment manufacturer or other responsible party.  

Initiating a Wrongful Death Claim

The Legal Steps Involved

  1. Consult with an Attorney: The first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in such cases. They can evaluate the circumstances, gather evidence, and provide guidance on the legal process.
  2. Investigation: Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to determine liability and gather evidence to support your claim. This may involve reviewing accident reports, interviewing witnesses, gathering medical records and consulting experts.
  3. Identifying the Liable Parties: In construction accidents, multiple parties may be held liable, including contractors, subcontractors, equipment manufacturers, and property owners. In New York, you are generally barred from suing your own employer. Your attorney will help identify all responsible parties.
  4. Filing the Lawsuit: Once the liable parties are determined, your attorney will file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a designated representative for the estate of the accident victim.

Parties Liable in Construction Accidents

Who May Be Held Liable?

  1. Contractors and Subcontractors: Entities responsible for overseeing specific aspects of the construction project may be liable if their negligence contributed to the accident.  In certain height related accidents such as scaffold falls or falling object cases, New York law provides strong legal tools to hold contractors and subcontractors responsible. 
  2. Property Owners: Owners of the construction site may be liable if unsafe conditions on the property contributed to the accident.  In certain cases, New York law holds property owners responsible for overall safety at a job site.
  3. Equipment Manufacturers: If a defective piece of equipment or machinery caused the fatal accident, the manufacturer may be held responsible.

Types of Compensation Available

Seeking Financial Support

Surviving family members may be eligible for various types of compensation through a wrongful death claim:

  1. Economic Damages: This includes compensation for financial losses, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, loss of guidance and support to children and others, and the deceased’s future earnings and benefits.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: These are more subjective and cover intangible losses like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.
  3. Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or intentional misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Navigating the Complex Legal Terrain

Wrongful death claims, especially in the context of construction accidents, involve complex legal and technical aspects. Seeking legal representation is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Legal Expertise: Attorneys have the legal expertise to build a strong case, handle negotiations, and represent your interests in court.
  2. Access to Resources: Attorneys have access to investigative resources and expert witnesses to support your claim.
  3. Navigating Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may try to minimize their liability. An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation.
  4. Peace of Mind: Dealing with a wrongful death claim is emotionally challenging. Having an attorney to handle the legal aspects can provide you with peace of mind during this difficult time.

Filing a wrongful death claim after a fatal construction accident is a complex and challenging process, but it can provide much-needed financial support and a sense of justice for surviving family members. If you have lost a loved one in a construction-related tragedy, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates LLP who can guide you through the legal process, identify liable parties, and help you seek the compensation you deserve. While a legal claim cannot bring your loved one back, it can offer financial stability and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Call us today at (212) 732-2929 to begin your healing journey and obtain the compensation you deserve.

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