Traumatic Brain Injuries and Wrongful Death: Holding Negligent Parties Accountable for Losses

traumatic brain injury and wrongful death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the U.S., traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of death. As many as 190 TBI-related deaths occur daily. Unfortunately, the careless actions of others are often responsible for the devastating consequences of severe traumatic brain injury.

Coping with the sudden loss of a loved one is challenging. Before you’ve had time to mentally and emotionally process your loss, you could find yourself in the position of dealing with the financial consequences of losing that family member.

At Finz & Finz, P.C., we understand how profoundly painful it is to lose a loved one. Our compassionate New York wrongful death attorneys want to allow you to seek justice for your loved one and compensation for your family. If your family member’s death resulted from an individual’s wrongful actions, they may be accountable for your losses.

What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries are often caused by a significant blow to the head or a penetrating wound. These injuries disrupt the normal function of the brain and cause damage to brain tissue.

There are three tiers of traumatic brain injury, mild, moderate, and severe. Concussions are typical examples of mild traumatic brain injury. Medical professionals also categorize traumatic brain injuries in two ways:

  • Closed Brain Injury – Closed brain injuries occur when a sudden blow or violent force to the head rapidly jolts the brain forward and backward. The acceleration and force of the hit can cause bleeding, swelling, and tissue damage that leads to a traumatic brain injury.
  • Penetrating Brain Injuries – Foreign objects are the leading cause of penetrating brain injuries. Penetrating injuries occur when a foreign object like a bullet, shrapnel, or broken piece of skull penetrates the brain.  

Types of New York Accidents that Can Cause Traumatic Brain Injury

Unfortunately, the careless actions of others are often responsible for the devastating and life-ending consequences of traumatic brain injuries. Falls and motor vehicle accidents are two of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury in the United States. However, numerous situations can lead to traumatic brain injuries and, eventually, death. Some of the accidents that lead to traumatic brain injury deaths in New York include:

  • ATV accidents
  • Birth injuries
  • Boating accidents
  • Falls from heights
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Violence
  • Workplace accidents

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a phrase used to describe the death of an individual caused by another party’s accidental or unintentional actions. New York law defines wrongful death as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, or default.”

To understand the concept better, think of a wrongful death lawsuit in terms of how a personal injury lawsuit functions. When someone is injured because of the careless actions of another, they can file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their financial losses. In the case of wrongful death, instead of the victim filing the lawsuit, a personal representative may do so on behalf of the deceased.

How Does Traumatic Brain Injury Cause Death?

The brain controls everything we do, from moving to breathing. It controls the body systems we actively think about and those we don’t. Unfortunately, severe traumatic brain injuries can lead to death. Death tends to occur when damage to the brain is extensive enough that the brain can no longer function or the brain can no longer signal other bodily systems to function.

Additionally, excessive bleeding or swelling in the brain caused by a traumatic brain injury can lead to death. Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain caused by TBI, can also cause brain damage and death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?

States have unique laws surrounding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit for a deceased individual. In New York, only the deceased’s personal representative or the executor of the deceased individual’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation on behalf of the victim’s family.

According to New York law, the personal representative can seek money for specific members of the deceased’s family, including the surviving spouse, children, or parents.

Compensation for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit aims to recover compensation for financial losses suffered by the deceased’s family members. The value of a wrongful death lawsuit depends on the specific circumstances of the case, but generally, the personal representative can seek money for the following:

  • Burial costs
  • Funeral costs
  • Lost income
  • Lost inheritance
  • Lost services the deceased would have provided
  • Medical expenses prior to death
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased

An experienced wrongful death attorney can evaluate your unique case and give you a better understanding of the process and what compensation your family may be entitled to pursue.

New York’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Grieving has no time frame. However, filing a wrongful death lawsuit does. The state gives personal representatives or executors two years from the accident date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is vital to meet this critical deadline. Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires generally results in the case’s dismissal, and you can lose the ability to seek maximum compensation.

However, like any rule, there are a few exceptions. If the individual’s death results from medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is two and a half years from the date of the individual’s death. Additionally, if an individual is tried in criminal court for their deadly actions, that new statute of limitations for your civil case is one year from the date the criminal case ends.  

Discuss Your Situation with a Skilled New York Wrongful Death Attorney

Have you lost a loved one to the careless actions of another? Thinking about trying to hold this party accountable may feel overwhelming as you cope with the grief of any loss. Allow the knowledgeable and sensitive legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C. to bear that burden while you and your family focus on healing.

Contact Finz & Finz, P.C.’s family-owned law firm today at (855) TOP-FIRM to arrange a free and confidential legal consultation.


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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.