In most cases, anyone hurt in a car accident has the right to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver to receive compensation for their injuries. There is no way to continue the claim if a victim passes away before an Estate representative is designated. A lawsuit for wrongful death may also be advantageous for some specific survivors of the victim.

State laws on wrongful death differ, as do the requirements for bringing a claim.

Wrongful Death in Queens, New York

According to New York law, wrongful death includes, among other things, a death brought on by a negligent act for which the decedent, if still alive, may have filed a personal injury action to recover damages. The underlying wrongful act in an automobile accident is negligence, which is frequently reckless driving or drunk driving.

A successful wrongful death claim in New York needs the proof of five factors:

  • The death of someone has occurred.
  • The fatality was brought on by the at-fault party’s wrongful or careless behavior.
  • If the deceased had been alive, they might have brought this cause of action as a personal injury case to obtain damages.
  • The decedent’s death caused a loss to one or more members of the victim’s family.
  • For the surviving spouse and kids of the victim, the estate is entitled to collect damages.

The plaintiff in action, however, cannot be the victim’s surviving family members. The only individual authorized to file the case is the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate. However, a family member who is an executor or personal representative may submit paperwork in that role.

Distribution of Damages

Strict statutory standards that specify who receives what portion of the proceeds govern the distribution of any recovery in a wrongful death case:

  • For a spouse and children of a deceased person, $50,000 is in addition to half of the remaining recovery. Equal shares of the remaining 50% go to each child.
  • The spouse gets the entire prize if there are no children.
  • Children who survive without a spouse receive an equal share of the settlement or award.
  • Their parents would receive the entire amount if the deceased did not have a spouse or children.

New York law specifies additional distribution if none of the options mentioned above are viable.

For information about how to protect your rights and find the best legal route to obtaining compensation, go to