NY Wrongful Death: Fear of Impending Death Damages Unknown to Many

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New York law allows for a statutory cause of action for wrongful death and a common law cause of action for conscious pain and suffering. However, another aspect of possible recovery unknown to many New Yorkers may be for the decedent's fear of impending death. Our legal expert explains how it works.

New York Fear of Impending Death

Ira Slavit, a New York wrongful death attorney says that in addition to New York's statutory cause of action for wrongful death and a common law cause of action for conscious pain and sufferinganother aspect of possible recovery that many New Yorkers don't realize is the decedent's fear of impending death – which is the mental anguish of knowing that your life is about to end. He provided the following examples:

  • Bus Accident. We had a case where we were able to have a pathologist examine the hospital records and the autopsy report and show how a decedent saw a bus that was about to hit him based on the way he was facing. In that case, we were able to increase the recovery. Even though he was killed almost instantly, we were able to show that he could see the bus coming towards him.
  • Plane Accident. There’s also a famous case where a very clever lawyer, based upon where his client was seated on an airplane that crashed, was able to extrapolate that the decedent would have been able to see certain things from the window because of the side and seat of the plane he was in, and was able to recover from the man's fear of impending death in that situation.

Wrongful deaths can result from missed medical diagnoses; missed cancer diagnoses; medication errors; hospital, surgical or birth injuries; medical malpractice; car accidents; workplace accidents and more. For answers to frequently asked questions about New York wrongful death lawsuits, please click here.

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