Losing a loved one unexpectedly is one of the worst things you can experience. For many people, the tragedy is made worse by discovering that the death may have been preventable. While nothing can ever replace a lost loved one, you may be eligible to seek compensation under New York law. The compensation in a wrongful death claim can help you to pay final medical expenses and replace a loved one’s lost financial support.
The attorneys of Powers & Santola, LLP have been helping families in Syracuse to recover just compensation in wrongful death cases since 1987. We want to help your family, too. Our goal in every case is to achieve a result that will make a fundamental improvement in our clients’ lives. To discuss how we can help with your wrongful death case, call or reach us online today for a free consultation.
What Types of Accidents Can Cause a Wrongful Death?
Not all deaths are “wrongful deaths.” To qualify as wrongful, the death must have been directly caused by (or at least caused in part by) someone’s negligence or other wrongdoing. A Syracuse wrongful death lawyer from Powers & Santola, LLP, can help you assess whether you have a case against the individuals or companies that caused your loved one’s death. Here are some of the common types of accidents and incidents that can lead to a wrongful death:
- Motor vehicle crashes – About 36,000 people die in car wrecks, motorcycle crashes, and tractor-trailer collisions every year in our country. When someone is texting or impaired by alcohol or drugs, their careless or reckless conduct can give rise to a potential wrongful death lawsuit.
- Medical malpractice – Hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year due to complications caused by medical errors. A careless medical provider who fails to catch a diagnosis in time to treat it, or a doctor who accidentally makes an error during a routine procedure, can and should be held responsible for causing a wrongful death.
- Falls – People frequently suffer serious falls in Syracuse due to negligent property owners, many of which end up leading to death. For elderly people who fall and fracture their hips, the risk of a fatality is much higher. Falls in hospitals, nursing homes and businesses all have the potential to cause a death.
- Construction accidents – Construction sites can be dangerous places. Sadly, many construction workers in New York lose their lives each year due to preventable falls, electrical accidents, crane accidents and equipment failures.
- Assaults – Property owners owe a duty to visitors to take reasonable steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable crimes from occurring on their premises, including violent crimes such as assault or murder.
- Defective products – Dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices can cause patients to suffer fatal side effects or complications. Automotive defects such as brakes, tires, wheels, steering or roofs often result in driver and passenger deaths.
How Can We Help If Your Loved One Is Killed?
If you suspect that your loved one’s death was caused by someone’s negligence or other wrongful conduct, you should immediately seek help from an experienced wrongful death attorney in Syracuse. The attorney can promptly investigate the circumstances of the death and help you to take appropriate legal action.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, we carefully evaluate each case and explore all potential legal theories and sources of compensation. Here are just a few of the ways we do it:
- Obtaining medical evidence – Often, medical records can explain why a wrongful death occurred. In today’s world of electronic medical records, a single hospitalization can generate thousands of pages of hospital records, radiological imaging results, physicians’ notes and nursing progress notes. Our team can gather all of these records and carefully review them for the reasons behind the death.
- Expert consultations – Many fatal injury cases involve highly complex issues. At Powers & Santola, LLP, we routinely consult with industry-leading professionals, including forensic specialists, medical experts, legal nurse consultants, accident reconstruction experts, actuarial experts, forensic accountants and toxicologists.
- Litigation – Insurance companies fight hard when they know that a case involves the loss of human life. Because the stakes are so high, you may need to fight your case in court. Having an experienced litigation team on your side will give you a stronger chance of success – whether through settlement or trial. At Powers & Santola, our law firm has U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers Tier 1 rankings in four practice areas, including medical malpractice and personal injury litigation on behalf of plaintiffs. Those rankings are based, in part, on our strong peer reviews.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in New York
New York law allows people time to grieve before bringing a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one. After all, people cope differently with the pain and sense of loss from a death in the family. Some people may be fully prepared to fight back and pursue justice within just a days after the death occurs, while others may require months of time to heal before they can even think about pursuing a lawsuit.
However, it is still important to avoid waiting too long to take action. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in New York is two years from the date of the death. In order to timely bring a claim, you will need to consult with a lawyer and give the lawyer ample time to investigate and prepare a wrongful death claim for filing. For instance, the lawyer will need to gather physical and digital evidence, interview witnesses, consult with experts, conduct legal research and draft documents. All of these things take time.
Given the built-in delays that come with investigating and pursuing justice in a wrongful death case, be sure not to wait until the last minute. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP, today. Remember: Our consultations are free and confidential, and they carry no obligations.
Compensation Available in Wrongful Death Claims
The loss of a loved one can be a devastating event that leaves the entire family without emotional and financial support. If the income for the family is unexpectedly cut in half (or completely lost if the deceased was the sole breadwinner), then it will mean enormous changes for everyone involved.
It could also mean a loss of services around the home and loss of help with raising the children. It may seem hard for some people to put a price tag on these things. However, if you need to pay for day care, lawn care or other services that your deceased loved one would have provided, those costs can be compensable in a New York wrongful death claim.
New York law gives surviving spouses and children the right to pursue compensation to make up for or replace the losses associated with a wrongful death. Compensation will vary from case to case. However, in general, you may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim for damages such as:
- Medical expenses associated with final care and treatment
- Funeral bills and burial costs
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of services
- Loss of inheritance.
Compensation will depend on the facts of the case. In some cases, surviving family members may be eligible to pursue punitive damages. These damages are only awarded where the defendant acted willfully or with utter disregard for human life. They are meant to punish wrongful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future. For instance, punitive damages may be the only way to send a message to big companies that manufacture dangerous medical devices or prescription drugs.
Contact Our Syracuse Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
If you and your family are grieving the death of a loved one in Syracuse, NY, which you believe may have been caused by another person’s wrongful conduct, contact the experienced team of attorneys at Powers & Santola, LLP, to get started on your path to justice. We have the skill and experience to protect your rights when dealing with insurance companies. We will pursue the maximum amount of compensation available to you under the law.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, we accept only a limited number of cases. We want to ensure that we devote the full extent of our resources and attention to each client we serve. When your family works with us in your wrongful death case, we want you to be confident that you can always speak with a member of our legal team who will know what is happening in your case.
Our consultations are free and confidential. You will also pay no costs or fees unless we recover compensation for you and your family. To learn more, contact us today through our Syracuse office and allow us to get started on reviewing your case.