New York Court of Appeals Rules That Wrongful Death Claimants May Collect Pre-Judgment Interest

In Toledo v. Iglesia Ni Christo, the Court of Appeals of New York, the State’s highest Court, ruled on January 12, 2012, that the survivors of a man killed in a construction accident could collect interest on a jury’s wrongful death award from the date he was killed to the time the jury reached its verdict of liability for his injuries. In doing so, the Court rejected the defendant’s argument that courts have traditionally only awarded interest on wrongful death awards from the date on which a court determined liability and not from the date of death.

The Court of Appeal’s decision is a tremendous victory for wrongful death claimants. In the Toledo case, the Court’s decision affirmed an award of nearly $1.2 million in pre-judgment interest to the decedent’s widow for the time between the decedent’s death and the trial court’s determination of liability.

New York personal injury attorneys and wrongful death claimants need to be cognizant of this important change in the law before settling or trying a New York wrongful death claim.

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