On March 13, 2014 a gas leak triggered a massive explosion in East Harlem, causing two five-story apartment buildings to collapse. The relatives of one of the victims recently filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the City. Such an accident serves as a reminder that anything can and may happen at any time. If a loved one is ever involved in an incident that leads to death, an experienced Brooklyn wrongful death attorney can answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your case.
What is Considered Wrongful Death in New York?
Wrongful death, such as death from an accident or incident like the one described above, is defined as a death that is caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another. Such acts serve as the basis for a civil action for damages on behalf of the decedent’s heirs. The New York State Constitution’s Estate and Powers Trust law provides the basis for New York’s wrongful death statute. It allows a decedent’s heir or representative to sue for whatever amount of money damages on behalf of a person or persons who could recover under the estate.
Damages under the wrongful death law are calculated based upon a fair and reasonable standard. This means that just compensation is provided for the injuries that resulted in the individual’s death. In extreme cases involving recklessness, punitive (punishment) damages are also allowed. Accordingly, wrongful death cases frequently result in large judgments, which do not begin to make up for the loss of a loved one but can at least compensate the families of victims so that they can move on with their lives.
How Do I know if a Loved One’s Death Was ‘Wrongful?’
The short answer is your intuition should tell you that something about the circumstances surrounding the incident do not seem right. For example, investigation of the East Harlem explosion in late March revealed that the City may have failed to replace an over 100-year-old gas line, which may have led to the rupture. Further, the lawsuit alleges that the City failed to adequately inspect the gas line to ensure that it was working properly and in safe condition. Likewise, the National Transportation Safety Board examined the gas line under the buildings and found that the main line was “riddled with leaks.”
When you begin to ask questions and seek answers as to the cause of a suspicious death, facts are often revealed that lead you to believe something is not right. Also important to note is a New York wrongful death lawsuit must be brought within two years of the victim’s death.
Taking Action with a Brooklyn Wrongful Death Attorney
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum immediately if you have a loved one you believe was involved in an incident that led to a wrongful death. Depending on the facts of your case, you and your family may be entitled to monetary damages to recover for your loss. For a free consultation with a skilled Brooklyn accident attorney call (718) 237-5586.