New York Wrongful Death Lawyer Assisting Clients in Schenectady
Losing a loved one is hard under any circumstances, but at Powers & Santola, LLP, we know that the grieving process can be especially difficult when the death occurred because of someone else’s careless or reckless behavior. You should not have to think about the financial losses associated with your loved one’s death, especially as you and your family grieve. The advocates at our firm are committed to helping families in the Schenectady area with wrongful death claims, and a Schenectady wrongful death lawyer at our firm can begin working on your case today.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim in Schenectady?
Wrongful death law is similar to personal injury law in many ways. While personal injury law allows the injured person to file a civil lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for her injuries, wrongful death law recognizes that the injured party is not alive to file a claim. Instead, wrongful death law allows a plaintiff—typically a close family member or another person serving as the personal representative of the deceased—to step into the shoes of the deceased in order to file a claim.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Schenectady, NY
Each state has its own wrongful death laws. Under Part 4 of the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Code, a plaintiff in a wrongful death claim must be able to prove the following elements in order to be eligible for compensation:
- Death of the deceased occurred;
- Death was caused by the defendant’s negligent or wrongful behavior, act, or omission;
- But for the deceased’s death, the cause of action would have allowed the deceased to file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant;
- One or more people suffered a loss as a result of the deceased’s death; and
- Damages can be recovered.
Who Can File a Schenectady Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under New York law, a person known as the “personal representative” of the deceased must file a wrongful death lawsuit. In many cases, a family member serves as the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. At the same time, however, another party may serve as the personal representative and may file a claim in order to seek damages for the deceased’s family members.
Damages in a Schenectady Wrongful Death Claim
Generally speaking, a wrongful death lawsuit can lead to two types of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages, or those damages for which there is a direct and objective financial loss; and
- Non-economic damages, or those damages for which there is no objective dollar figure.
For example, both economic and non-economic damages might include the following:
- Funeral costs;
- Burial costs;
- Hospital bills and other medical expenses incurred by the deceased prior to death;
- Lost wages for the deceased between the time of injury and death;
- Lost wages for the deceased after his or her death;
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased after the injury and prior to death;
- Loss of support the deceased provided to family members; and
- Value of nurturing and care the deceased would have provided to surviving children.
Statute of Limitations for a Schenectady Wrongful Death
Like other civil lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits have what is known as a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that the personal representative of the deceased has to file a lawsuit after the deceased’s death. In New York, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two (2) years from the date of the deceased’s death. If a plaintiff does not file a wrongful death lawsuit within this time window, the claim can become “time-barred.” This means that the claim no longer can be heard in court, and the plaintiff may not be eligible to seek financial compensation.
It is important to distinguish between the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim and for a personal injury lawsuit. While the clock on the statute of limitations usually begins “ticking” at the time of the injury in a personal injury lawsuit, the date of the deceased’s injury does not impact the statute of limitations in a wrongful death claim. Instead, the clock begins “ticking” on the date of the deceased’s death. In some cases the statute of limitations for wrongful death may mean a lawsuit needs to be brought earlier than had the person survived. It is essential not to wait to contact a knowledgeable Schenectady wrongful death attorney to discuss the case.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Schenectady
If you recently lost someone you love because of another party’s careless or negligent behavior, it is important to seek advice from a Schenectady wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation. The advocates at Powers & Santola, LLP have years of experience handling wrongful death claims for families in New York and can speak with you about your case today. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP to learn more about the services we provide.