Syracuse Wrongful Death Attorneys

The experienced wrongful death attorneys at the DeMore Law Firm have helped countless grieving families for years. When you lose a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your loss, medical expenses incurred and pain and suffering that the decedent endured from the time of injury until passing.

In Onondaga County, we have successfully litigated numerous wrongful death claims.  In the past 4 years, we brought a claim against a local hospital for the wrongful death of a 56 year-old Syracuse woman who died following complications from a hernia repair surgery resulting in a $650,000 settlement for her surviving son.   We secured a $1,500,000 pre-trial settlement for the Estate of a 48 year-old woman involved in a motor vehicle-pedestrian collision in the parking lot of a grocery store.  We also obtained $1,300,000 for the Estate of a 42 year-old mother of two children from an OB/GYN physician for failing to diagnose and/or treat her breast cancer resulting in her untimely death.  We negotiated a $1,300,000.00 pre-trial settlement for the widow of a 37 year-old man against an emergency room physician for failing to diagnose and treat a pulmonary embolism resulting in his death.  We also obtained $500,000 for the Estate of a 68 year-old woman from a local dermatologist who failed to diagnose her malignant melanoma (skin cancer).  We recovered $375,000 for the estate of a 74 year-old woman who passed away as a result of complications due to an undiagnosed colonic stricture following her abdominal surgery. The surgeon and hospital failed to properly monitor her following the surgery.

 What is a wrongful death claim?

New York State qualifies a wrongful death claim as an injury caused by a “wrongful act, omission or neglect” that resulted in a fatality that the deceased person could have pursued with a personal injury lawsuit had he or she lived.

Wrongful death claims typically arise out of instances of medical malpractice such as: surgical errors, failure to diagnose, prescription errors, and nursing home neglect and abuse. They can also arise out of other instances of negligence such as: motor vehicle crashes, trucking crashes, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian injuries, construction site injuries, slip & fall and trip & fall injuries, and even dog bite injuries.

Proving A Wrongful Death Claim

There are five elements that are required in order to bring a wrongful death claim in New York.  First is that there was a death. Second, that the death was caused by the wrongful or negligent conduct of the opposing party. Third, that the act would have given rise to a personal injury claim had the person lived. Fourth, there is a surviving family member that has sustained a monetary loss as a result of the death. Fifth, that a personal representative of the decedent’s Estate has been appointed.

In terms of evidence, documentation is very important to establish the five elements above. These documents may include medical reports, photos or videos at the scene of the accident, police reports, and/or statements from eyewitnesses.

 Who can file a wrongful death claim in NYS?

A wrongful death action must be filed by a surviving family member. This includes parents, children, and spouses who have suffered monetary loss as a result.


There are several forms of damages that a family member can recover from a wrongful death. Funeral expenses for the deceased individual can be recoverable. If the family member was financially dependent on the decedent, they may be able to recover loss of future income and financial support. Any medical expenses incurred while the decedent was being treated prior to death can be also recovered. A spouse may recover for loss of companionship and the Estate can recover for the pain and suffering the decedent may have endured prior to death.

Statute of Limitations

In general, the statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death action in New York is two years from the date of the death. However, there are a few exceptions. If the defendant already has a criminal case pending, then the statute of limitations is one year from the end of the criminal case. If the only person who can file the wrongful death action is the child of the deceased who is under 18 years old, the statute of limitations is “tolled”, or paused, until they turn 18 or find a guardian to file on their behalf. However, if the minor already has a guardian at the time of death, then the statute of limitations remains at two years.

How the DeMore Law Firm can help

Contact the DeMore Law Firm for a free case evaluation today and to make sure that you avoid missing the deadline for filing a wrongful death action . We understand that this is a very difficult time and we will do our best to handle your case with respect while also getting you the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.