As discussed in the last two blogs, the New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law sets forth the statutory procedures for personal representatives and executors when suing other parties for wrongfully causing a decedent’s death. If your estate’s personal representative files a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf, the EPTL sets forth specific defenses that a defendant charged with wrongfully causing your death may use.
Pursuant to the EPTL, a defendant can use a contributory negligence defense as a legal defense to a wrongful death lawsuit alleging negligence. Contributory negligence is a legal claim asserting you were also negligent in causing your own death. However, contributory negligence is an absolute defense only for suits that arose before Sept. 1, 1975. For cases arising on or after Sept. 1, 1975, contributory negligence is no longer an absolute defense.
If your personal representative refuses to bring a wrongful death action on a decedent’s behalf, the EPTL allows the beneficiaries or distributes of a decedent’s estate to request an appointment of a substitute administrator or personal representative who will maintain the action. To further understand your legal rights to sue for wrongful death on an estate’s behalf, contact us today.