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.
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
- 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:
- 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?
At 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.
Rochester Practice Areas
Medical Malpractice | Wrongful Death | Delayed Cancer Diagnosis | Workplace Accident | Personal Injury | Product Liability | Nursing Home Abuse | Sexual Abuse | Child Victims Act | Auto Accidents | Premises Liability | Construction Accident | Catastrophic Injuries
Outstanding legal team! We had 2 major tragedies befall our family. Through it all John Powers and his staff were sensitive and kind while providing outstanding legal service. There isn’t a high enough rating available as far as I am concerned.- Anonymous