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What Should I Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Syracuse?

Losing a loved one as a result of another party’s carelessness or recklessness can be absolutely devastating, and it can be difficult to consider the possibility of a lawsuit. Yet in time, it can also become extremely important to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, the family members of a deceased person can obtain compensation for a wide variety of losses. For example, under New York law, a wrongful death claim can allow a surviving spouse or child to recover compensation for funeral and burial costs, lost wages that the deceased would have earned and contributed to support of the family, and the support and care the deceased would have provided. 

If you are planning to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim in Syracuse, what do you need to know? The following are some of the key considerations to take into account as you plan for a wrongful death lawsuit in Upstate New York. 

Personal Representative of the Estate Must Be the Party Who Actually Files the Lawsuit

To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Syracuse, you must be the personal representative of the estate. If you are not the personal representative of the estate, you should seek advice from a Syracuse wrongful death lawyer about how you can ensure that the personal representative of your family member’s estate files a wrongful death lawsuit.

Some states allow a surviving spouse, surviving child, or other surviving family members to be the party who files a wrongful death lawsuit, but it is important to know that this is not the case in New York. According to New York wrongful death law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must be the party who actually files the wrongful death claim. In some cases, a family member may be the personal representative of the estate (also known as the executor of the estate) and thus may be eligible to file the lawsuit, but being a surviving family member is not sufficient to bring a claim. 

Surviving Family Members Can Recover Damages

While the personal representative of the estate must be the party who moves forward with filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Syracuse, this does not mean that the personal representative will necessarily be the party to recover damages. To be clear, surviving family members can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit after the personal representative files and wins the lawsuit. 

As we noted above, surviving family members may be able to receive a wide range of compensatory damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. This can range from direct or objective losses resulting from the deceased’s injuries and death, as well to subjective losses resulting from the death of the deceased. It may be possible to obtain compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering from the time of the injury until the death. However, surviving family members cannot get compensation for their own pain and suffering caused by the loss of the deceased.

As a result, even if you are not the personal representative of the estate, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the personal representative’s responsibilities and relationship with the deceased, the personal representative may also recover damages to pay the deceased’s outstanding bills. If you are the deceased’s personal representative and the surviving spouse or child. For example, you may be able to seek compensation for the deceased’s loss of support, services, or care.

You Must File Your Lawsuit Within Two Years from the date of the Deceased’s Death with Limited Exceptions

If you are going to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Syracuse, the New York statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years. The clock starts ticking on the date of the deceased’s death.

There are two key exceptions.

  • If the deceased’s death resulted from medical negligence, you may have 2.5 years from the date of death to file the wrongful death lawsuit. 
  • If criminal charges have been brought in connection with the deceased’s death, you will have one year from the date of the end of the criminal case to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Syracuse

While our Syracuse wrongful death lawyers know how difficult it can be to think about the possibility of filing a lawsuit after losing a loved one, we also know how critical a wrongful death claim can be to ensure that the surviving family of the deceased obtain the compensation they need while holding the negligent party accountable. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP today to get started on your claim.

Call Today! (518) 213-4438

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