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3 Steps to Take after a Wrongful Death – Advice from a New York City Accident Attorney

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2016 | Firm News

When filing a claim of wrongful death, every step in the administrative process is important. The trauma of losing a loved one overshadows the thought of legal concerns, but it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to protect your financial interests. An accident attorney can handle the legal side of your claim and help you avoid mistakes, so you can focus on personal recovery.

If you are mourning the wrongful loss of a loved one, then contact Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP. An injury lawyer in New York City can guide you through the claims process.

Our lawyers have more than 75 years of combined experience litigating personal-injury claims. If you would like to schedule a consultation, then call 917-730-7151. Until then, make sure you take these three steps when filing a wrongful death claim:

  1. Get a Personal Representative

In New York, only the deceased’s personal estate representative can file a wrongful death claim. This role comes with several responsibilities, as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains.

The representative is the only person who can collect personal records or get a subpoena to force their release. Outcomes are typically better if the representative files on behalf of the family instead of the deceased.

Most people appoint their own personal representatives – usually in an estate plan, will or trust. However, some people do not.

If your loved one did not appoint anyone, then the courts may approve a family member for the role. In cases when no one is willing or able to be the personal representative, the state will divide the deceased’s assets according to New York’s statute. The estate typically goes to listed beneficiaries.

  1. Collect Personal Documents

The personal representative will need to gather the necessary health records and documents for the claim. He or she is the only one able to do this because of privacy and safety laws, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. These records include:

OMI’s Report and Findings

The Office of the Medical Investigator will provide a detailed analysis of the cause of death. This report is significantly more extensive and valuable for your claim than the death certificate. Sometimes, the OMI report and the death certificate contain conflicting information. If there are discrepancies, then your accident attorney may arrange an expert evaluation.

Death Certificate

The death certificate is the official proof that your loved one died. You will need it for your claim. Death certificates contain vital information including times, dates, initial findings and the cause of death.

All Incident Reports

There is always an incident report after a wrongful death. Depending on what killed your loved one, there could be an accident report, police report, employer report and more. Hunt down every incident report and add it to your evidence file.

  1. Hire an Injury Lawyer to Handle Correspondence with the Insurance Company

Insurance companies are businesses, so they will try to pay as little as possible. There are several tactics that insurance companies use to devalue or deny claims. They may ask leading questions or argue that a preexisting injury or medical condition contributed to the wrongful death. This is why it is so important to hire an injury lawyer who understands the legalities of wrongful death claims.

If your loved one died due to another person’s negligent, reckless or malicious actions, then contact Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP. We can gather evidence, structure your claim and handle settlement negotiations.

Our attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, then call 917-730-7151.