The loss of a loved one can be difficult for friends and family to handle. Unfortunately, finding closure may be even more difficult for families and friends when their loved one has passed in a fatal accident due to another person’s negligent behavior. For one family, a wrongful death claim may provide some closure for the death of their loved one.

The state of New York has been ordered to pay more than three million dollars to the estate of a man who died as a result of his car falling off an interstate overpass that was covered by snow. The deceased’s two sons filed the wrongful death claim. In the suit against the state of New York, the sons claimed that the state’s Department of Transportation failed to clear the snow from the overpass, and as a result, caused their father’s death. According to reports, the deceased was driving on the interstate when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a pile of snow that was against the guardrail. This crash caused the vehicle to spin off a bridge and plunge to the ground, which was 50 feet below the bridge.

Family members or the personal representative of a deceased’s estate may bring a wrongful death claim. In a wrongful death claim, the petitioner must prove that another’s negligence led to the death of the person, that the family members of the deceased are facing financial challenges as a result of the death and a personal representative has been appointed for the estate of the deceased.

Financial, also known as pecuniary, damages may be awarded in a wrongful death claim. The award may include compensation for medical and funeral expenses, loss of income and other expenses resulting from the loved one’s death.

The death of a loved one is always challenging, but especially so when the death was caused by another person’s behavior. Sometimes, a wrongful death claim may lessen the pain and lead to a sense of closure for the deceased’s family members.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “NY state ordered to pay $3.5M in motorist’s death,” Oct. 10, 2012