New York Wrongful Death: Who Can File a Lawsuit On Behalf of the Deceased?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Mar 4, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
Who can, and can’t, bring a New York wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased? According to Ira Slavit, a New York wrongful death lawyer, the answer depends on what the New York Surrogates Court decides.
New York Surrogates Court
Slavit says the question of who can, and can’t, file a wrongful death lawsuit is an “interesting one.” He explained:
We currently have a couple of inquiries regarding wrongful death situations where the decedent may be a citizen of the United States, but through the circumstances, none of his relatives are citizens of the United States. Also, we have a situation where the decedent himself is not a citizen and none of his relatives are citizens, but the NY Surrogates Court indicated that they would consider naming his fiance as the estate’s representative – someone who wasn’t related to him yet. Unfortunately they never got married, but if the out-of-country parents agree, the court would allow the fiance to serve as representative of the estate.
New York Order of Compromise
Slavit says that you have to also bear in mind that even though someone brings a lawsuit, he or she does not get to decide how the money gets distributed. He continued:
At the end of every wrongful death suit, if there’s a settlement or a verdict, you have to go back to Surrogates Court and get an Order of Compromise – which will specify who gets what. There’s a lot of paperwork and it can be very time consuming because there may be some taxing authorities involved as well.
So in the case of the fiance, she might not get any recovery from the suit. She might get something for serving as administratrix of the estate, but she may not end up getting any recovery. It may all go to the parents who don’t reside in, and are not citizens of, the United States.