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Syracuse Wrongful Death Lawyer

Woman in black bringing red rose in coffin.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.

Rochester Wrongful Death Lawyers

Two doctors talking about wrongful death.Under New York law, surviving family members have the right to sue for “wrongful death” when their loved one dies due to the careless, reckless or intentional conduct of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim can help family members to recover compensation and help them to cope with the loss of their loved one. While this compensation cannot counteract the grief and sorrow that comes with a tragic loss, it can help the surviving spouse, children and others to move forward with their lives without struggling financially.

The experienced and compassionate lawyers of Powers & Santola, LLP, have fought on behalf of families in Rochester and across upstate New York for more than three decades. We have the skill and resources you need on your side if you lost a loved one in an unexpected and untimely accident. We understand what you are going through, and we are committed to making sure that you are able to heal and move forward with your life after losing someone you love. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.


What Are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases in New York?

Individuals or companies can be held liable if their actions lead to someone’s death. These unexpected fatal events can happen at any time, anywhere. However, as our personal injury attorneys have seen in Rochester over the years, wrongful death cases most often arise in these areas:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Accidents are a common occurrence on the busy highways and roads in Rochester and across Monroe County. Most accidents are caused by driver negligence and could have been avoided if the person had been safely operating the vehicle.

When two vehicles collide, occupants could suffer fatal injuries. If a driver was texting, talking on the phone or otherwise distracted behind the wheel, that driver could be held liable if they cause a fatal accident. Other reasons for fatal crashes include intoxicated driving, drowsy driving, speeding, reckless driving and failing to yield. Holding the hand of a family member after a wrongful death

Accidents involving commercial vehicles can also be fatal. If a truck driver is not paying attention, driving while drowsy or under the influence, the driver and the company that employs the driver could be held responsible for any fatal accidents they cause. The trucking company or maintenance shop could also be at fault if the accident was caused by an improperly loaded or poorly maintained truck. Additionally, a parts manufacturer could be liable if the accident was caused by a defective part.

Medical Malpractice Claims

When a doctor, surgeon, nurse or other health care professional or facility fails to uphold the standard of care that patients have the right to expect, and a patient dies as a result, the surviving family members may have a valid wrongful death claim. Examples of wrongful death claims include cases which involve:

  • Missed or delayed diagnosis of a condition such as cancer
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to properly monitor a patient
  • Allowing infections to occur.

At Powers & Santola, LLP, we will investigate the treatment that your loved one received and consult with highly knowledgeable medical professionals in order to determine whether you have a valid medical malpractice wrongful death claim.

Construction Injuries and Accidents

New York State’s labor laws require construction site owners and contractors to ensure the safety of workers. If they fail to do so, and a worker dies as a result, the worker’s family members may be eligible to recover just compensation through a wrongful death claim.

Some of the most common causes of death in the construction industry in Rochester and other areas of New York are:

  • Falling (including falls from heights and slip-and-falls)
  • Falling objects and materials
  • Negligent operation of vehicles
  • Careless operation of construction, demolition and excavation machinery
  • Fires and explosions
  • Electricity (or electrocution accidents)
  • Dangerous tools, machines and materials
  • Negligent handling and movement of heavy materials
  • Exposure to the elements and air contaminants.

New York’s labor laws are highly complex. So, it will make a difference in your case to work with a law firm that has experience and in-depth knowledge of how to pursue compensation for clients through these laws.

Other Types of Accidents

Other types of wrongful death claims that Powers & Santola, LLP, handle for families in Rochester and throughout New York include:

  • Car Accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Slip and fall (premises liability)
  • Fire liability
  • Drowning
  • Animal attacks
  • Nursing home abuse or negligence.

If you suspect that your loved one’s death was the result of a negligent act, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney at Powers & Santola, LLP, to get a thorough evaluation of your case.

How Do You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death claims in New York must be filed by a representative of the deceased person’s estate. The claim is filed on behalf of the surviving family members. When you hire an attorney at our law firm to represent you, your attorney and our legal team will quickly investigate the accident, collect and preserve evidence and prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf.

When pursuing compensation, the evidence must show:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one.
  • The defendant breached that duty of care.
  • Your loved one died as a result of the defendant’s specific actions or inaction.
  • You and your family members have suffered harm as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

New York law generally requires wrongful death actions to be filed within two years of the person’s death. This limitation is known as the “statute of limitations.” A court can dismiss any claim that is filed after this period of time passes. Other time limits, of course, may apply to your case. For this reason, it is crucial to consult with an attorney as early as possible. The attorney can determine the deadlines which apply to your case.

What Damages Can You Pursue in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The specific types of damages that surviving family members are entitled to recover in a wrongful death claim depend on the particular circumstances surrounding the loved one’s death. Some commonly awarded damages in Rochester wrongful death claims include:Person holding a handful of pills to represent wrongful death

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses related to the person’s final injury or illness before the death
  • Wages and other benefits lost between the person’s injury and the death
  • Loss of future earnings and support
  • Interest on the damages award, calculated from the date of death.

Unlike many other states, New York does not allow for the recovery of pain, anguish and the loss of companionship in a wrongful death lawsuit.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Powers & Santola, LLP, represents clients on a contingency fee basis. Under this type of fee arrangement, our law firm will not collect a single cent from you unless we secure compensation on your behalf. We do this because we believe that families should not have to worry about legal fees during this challenging time. We know that you are already under enough financial stress and strain, and you should not have to struggle to pay upfront for legal representation. In your consultation, we can discuss the fee we will charge if we are successful in your case. Typically, it will represent a percentage of the amount recovered on your behalf.

We also will never charge for a consultation. We want you to feel free to speak with a lawyer in order to learn about your legal rights and the options which may be available to you.

Why Choose Powers & Santola, LLP, for Your Wrongful Death Claim?

Cart running to emergency roomAt Powers & Santola, LLP, we have pursued compensation for families just like yours for more than three decades. We know how to thoroughly prepare wrongful death claims, aggressively negotiate full and fair settlements and successfully try cases in front of juries if a trial is necessary. We believe that our commitment to our clients and our focus on providing compassionate, caring representation for them is what sets us apart. In fact, we handle only select cases in order to ensure that we devote all of our resources to each and every client we serve and to develop close working relationships with them.

Get Help from Our Wrongful Death Law Firm in Rochester Today

If you have any reason to believe that someone’s negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct caused the death of your loved one, you should seek legal help as soon as possible. Contact the highly compassionate and professional attorneys of Powers & Santola, LLP, and allow us to provide a free and confidential review of your case today through our Rochester office.

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