4 yrs ago my son was in an auto accident which took his life. I was paying child support to his mom.
When he passed my son's mom found an atturney. This atturney said we will put a lawsuit in for wrongful death. My son was living with his mom; he was 19 yrs of age. One of the atturneies told me that his mom does not want me to get any of the settlement. Is this possible? My name is on the retainer. Being that my son died at work I received half of the work-comp settlement. Now, why won't I be able to have any of the wrongful dealth settlement. The wrongful death is against his employer, because the company driver feel asleep driveing the company van. Now the van was a 2 man van but there was 3 men in the van. The company knew the drive had a problem falling asleep behind the wheel. What is the statute of limitations for a wrongful death law case? And will I be able to share with any settlements?
3 Answers from Attorneys
So long as you are a distributee, you are entitled to recover. If your son had a will, it will depend on what the will says. Normally 19 year olds don't have wills, so you are in all likelihood a distributee so long as he was not married and did not have kids.
The only way she can exclude you is if she claims you abandoned your child. To do this, she would have to have you excluded as a distributee, either in the Supreme Court or in the Surrogates Court.
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In addition to the above answer, if the attorney appears to be in conflict with your wishes regarding the distribution of any settlement, you may need to hire your own attorney to protect your interests.
Also licensed in New York
There will be no distribution of the proceeds from a wrongful death case without a further court order, either from the Supreme Court, or the Surrogate's Court. If you were paying child support and were the natural parent, you will not be excluded from the distribution of settlement funds. Make sure your ex-wife's attorney is aware of your identity, address and other particulars. Best, M. E. Zuller