Lynch Schwab, PLLC

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New York City Reaches Historic $5.9 Million Settlement with Family of Eric Garner

As a West Chester County accident law firm, our professional legal staff is equipped to help families navigate the murky waters of New York’s wrongful death laws. While pursuing legal action in the wake of a family tragedy may seem incomprehensible at the time, seeking redress to compensate for the all-encompassing loss of a loved one will reap enormous benefits in the end.

Take, for instance, the tragic and premature death of New York City’s Eric Garner – who is alleged to have been killed at the hands of over-zealous NYPD officers following a stop-and-frisk over possible illegal cigarette sales.

During the exchange, which was digitally recorded by several onlookers, the victim was quickly brought down by one officer using the chokehold technique. Despite informing the officer a recorded 11 times that he could not breathe, the victim eventually succumbed to the officer’s physical pressure, and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

In October, 2014, the victim’s family filed a Notice of Claim detailing their intentions to pursue a wrongful death action against New York City. On July 13, 2015, the city agreed to pay $5.9 million to the family in order to settle the allegations – an option often exercised by wrongful death defendants in order to avoid the protracted publicity and expense of a trial.

The family also received an undisclosed settlement amount from the Richmond University Medical Center, which first responded to the scene.

Wrongful Death in New York

From a policy perspective, wrongful death actions are designed to help ensure responsible defendants do not evade liability merely due to the fact the victim is dead and no longer able to initiate a claim for compensation. Accordingly, the law allows for the victim’s estate – through its personal representative (i.e., executor) – to file on behalf of the family, which may be entitled to damages for any of the following:

  • Funeral, burial, cremation and/or memorial service expenses
  • Medical expenses related to the decedent’s final illness or injury
  • Loss of relationship between the decedent and the surviving immediate family members
  • Loss of income provided by the victim to the surviving family members
  • Value of the parental relationship lost between the victim and minor children
  • Compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering

As your Westchester County wrongful death attorney will also explain, New York law requires the victim’s estate to file its claims within two years of the victim’s date of death – otherwise, the claim is barred under the statute of limitations.

Unlike many other states, there are no opportunities under New York law to “toll” the statute, and the two-year deadline is a definitive cutoff date for a successful wrongful death action.

Contact Our West Chester County Accident Law Firm Today

If you are currently in the aftermath of an unexpected loss, we encourage you to consider the benefits of a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual(s) responsible for your loved one’s passing. To get started, please contact Lynch, Schwab & Gasparini, PLLC at 914-304-4353.

Posted on August 31, 2015 in Personal Injury