Wrongful Death | Lawyers/Attorneys

Wrongful Death2022-07-20T14:34:20+00:00

Personal Injury Lawyers Criminal Defense Attorneys Albany NY

Wrongful Death | Lawyers & Attorneys

The untimely death of a family member because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person — a motorist, a doctor or a company is very difficult to accept. Sadly, the family who is left behind will suffer for years to come and the grieving process is often harder knowing your loved one’s death was preventable.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s conduct or wrongdoing, you may be able to receive compensation and you should contact a wrongful death attorney who has experience in handling wrongful death cases.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death

Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.

Who is entitled to receive compensation when someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence?2020-07-21T18:18:44+00:00

Pursuant to the New York Estates Powers and Trust Law (EPTL), the distributees (next of kin) of the deceased loved one are entitled to receive compensation. Generally, that includes a spouse and children, or a spouse and parents if there are no children. If there is no spouse, no children and no parents, it will include other family members as well.

What is the family entitled to be compensated for?2023-06-06T17:58:43+00:00

There are two types of money damages that family members can receive after the passing of a loved one because of someone else’s negligence. The first type of damage is for the financial losses suffered by the family members.  These losses may include claims for loss of support, voluntary assistance, and possible inheritance, as well as medical and funeral expenses incidental to death. Pecuniary loss, the legal term for financial loss, arising from the death of a wage earner may be calculated based on the lost loved one’s earning potential. These financial losses can also include loss of parental guidance and care, as well as moral and intellectual training that the person who died provided to the family. The second type of damage that may be recovered is for the pain suffered by your deceased family member before his/her death. This includes any pre-impact terror suffered by your family member and any suffering that occurred after the incident happened but before your family member passed away.

Can I be compensated for my grief if a family member dies?2020-09-24T19:40:39+00:00

In New York, families are not entitled to be compensated for their grief, loss of affection, loss of society or loss of the romantic relationship. Many lawyers in New York, including George LaMarche, have been trying to change this law for years.

What is a child who lost a parent entitled to?2020-07-21T18:17:12+00:00

A child may be entitled to money for loss of financial support, inheritance, parental guidance and care as well as moral and intellectual training.

Can we be reimbursed for funeral expenses?2020-07-21T18:16:52+00:00

Family members are eligible to be reimbursed for funeral expenses and medical expenses incurred on behalf of their deceased loved one.

What is an estate representative?2020-07-21T18:16:30+00:00

An estate representative is appointed by a Surrogate Court to handle the processing of estate matters and represent the estate of the loved one (decedent) in any legal claim or lawsuit.  When someone dies with a Last Will and Testament, the Will is submitted to Surrogate Court (known as “probating the will”) and the person named in the Will as the Executor (male) or Executrix (female) is appointed by the court.  When someone dies without a will, New York law sets forth a process to appoint a family member as the Administrator (male) or Administratrix (female) of the estate.  Generally, it is the surviving spouse, adult child or parent of the deceased family member who takes on this role.

What does an estate representative do in a wrongful death case?2020-07-21T18:16:03+00:00

The estate representative (Executor/Executrix/Administrator/Administratrix) is the person who retains the attorney and signs all paperwork associated with making a claim or commencing and resolving a lawsuit for the wrongful death of the loved one. The estate representative serves as the point of contact with the attorney and the decision maker as to whether the case will proceed to trial or resolve by way of a settlement.

Does a lawsuit have to be filed in order for family members to be compensated in a wrongful death claim?2020-07-21T18:15:43+00:00

It is not always necessary to file a lawsuit to receive a settlement for a wrongful death claim. Your wrongful death attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the negligent party. Any resolution of the legal claims related to your loved one must be submitted to the Judge in Surrogate Court for approval because that Judge is in the best position to determine how any proceeds will be distributed. Therefore, even if a lawsuit was not commenced, the settlement will still require approval by a Judge.

How does the court decide who receives the settlement or verdict proceeds?2020-07-21T18:15:15+00:00

The New York Estates Powers and Trust Law governs who is entitled to receive the proceeds.  The Surrogate Court uses that law to determine who receives the proceeds and how much each family member receives based on criteria established by statute and case law.  When a settlement or verdict is reached, documents are submitted to the Surrogate Court by the wrongful death attorney and estate representative requesting permission to settle the claim and proposing a distribution of the proceeds.  The court may require certain family members be notified of the proposed settlement before approving the settlement, so that in fairness, all who may have an interest can be heard by the Court before any money is paid out of the estate.

What do I do after the death of a loved one due to Negligence or Wrongdoing?2020-08-17T15:31:50+00:00

The untimely death of a family member because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person — a motorist, a doctor or a company is very difficult to accept. Sadly, the family who is left behind will suffer for years to come and the grieving process is often harder knowing your loved one’s death was preventable.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s conduct or wrongdoing, you may be able to receive compensation and you should contact a wrongful death attorney who has experience in handling wrongful death cases.

How long do we have to file a lawsuit?2020-07-06T20:04:53+00:00

Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two (2) years of the date of death of the loved one, with certain exceptions for claims against a municipality or the State of New York which require a claim to be filed within 90 days of the appointment of the estate representative.

How long does a wrongful death case take?2020-07-06T19:56:20+00:00

How long a wrongful death case takes to resolve depends on many factors.  Before a claim or lawsuit can proceed, an estate representative must be appointed to represent the estate of the person who died and later, upon settlement of the claim or case, a court must approve the settlement. For cases against a doctor or a hospital, experts are required to participate in the review and prosecution of the case.  Cases that have complex issues involving how the accident occurred and multiple parties can also impact the progress and length of a case. On the other hand, more straight forward cases where fault or negligence is clear generally move forward more quickly.  If a case proceeds to trial, it is not unusual for even the most straight forward cases to take at least two years.

Following a settlement or verdict, the estate representative, through a wrongful death lawyer, must then submit documents to Surrogate Court to approve the settlement and distribution of the proceeds. That process can take several months to complete.

What should I bring to a meeting with a wrongful death lawyer?2020-07-06T19:54:17+00:00

For the initial meeting with an attorney regarding a wrongful death claim, it is helpful to bring a certified copy of the death certificate, a copy of the paid funeral bill and the original Last Will and Testament of your deceased loved one (if they had a will). If an estate representative has already been appointed by a Surrogate Court, the wrongful death attorney will need a copy of the certificate of appointment. The attorney will also need the names, addresses and dates of birth of the spouse and children of the decedent (the loved one who died) or parents if there are no children. If no spouse, no children, or no parent is alive, this same information will be needed for any other distributees (family members).  Additionally, if the death was the result of a motor vehicle accident, a copy of the accident report is important.  Any other documents or information involving the circumstances of the death can also be helpful.

What must be proven to have a successful wrongful death claim?2020-07-02T16:11:47+00:00

Wrongful death claims are based on the legal tort of negligence. Wrongful death negligence claims must prove four things to be successful: duty, breach, causation, and death.   The law is clear that a defendant(s) (the person(s) responsible) must breach a duty of reasonable care before an injured person can recover money damages.  Reasonable care means that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would use under the same circumstances.  The clearest example of this is if a driver who is speeding strikes another person and causes that person to die. In this example the driver owed a duty to keep his vehicle under control, but when he did not, he breached his duty to other people on the roadway and caused the death of another person.

With regard to medical negligence claims, under New York Law, to prove a medical malpractice case there must be expert medical support for the action. The wrongful death medical malpractice lawyer must be able to prove that the doctor or hospital breached a duty of care to the patient by providing poor care, or failing to properly diagnose a condition and as a result of that caused the death of the patient.

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case

Recent Verdicts & Settlements

Automobile Accident
Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.


Medical Negligence
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.


Wrongful Death
Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.


Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.


Negligent Assault
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body.  He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.


Bicycle Accident
Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.


Nursing Home Negligence
An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.


Worksite Injury
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.


Worksite Injury
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.


Worksite Injury
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.


Farm/Tractor Accident
The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.


* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

LaMarche Safranko Law Testimonials


Vicki Testimonial Transcript
Well, I met George in 2014. My son was arrested for a criminal offense, and George—he has this ability, it’s just who he is. He’s genuinely empathetic and he’s very compassionate and he has the ability to just make you feel safe. You know? I just always felt I was in great hands and my son was in good hands and that we would have a good outcome of our situation and we always have. And he’s brilliant. He’s a brilliant lawyer. He’s very skilled and very creative. He has excellent rapport with all the judges and DAs and officials, and he’s always found a rehabilitative outcome for my son which I genuinely appreciate.

Laurie Testimonial Transcript
George was referred to me by my estate attorney. They go way back and it was a great referral, I don’t think I could have done any better, it was a very good match for me. Something that was really really instrumental in the whole thing was George keeping us up-to-date on what was going on and very much included. I was invited to be at all the depositions if I wanted to be and he gave me all the written depositions to read through, so I was always up-to-date on what was going on and I felt like a part of the process. I would definitely recommend George to other people. In fact, about 2 weeks ago I did. A friend of mine was in a pedestrian car accident, she was the pedestrian and is in pretty rough shape, and he was the first person I thought of so I actually asked him if it would be in his purview and he said yes. And I know that she’s very happy with him so far.

Jules Testimonial Transcript
What brought me to the firm was a personal incident where Andrew was recommended to me very highly by a family friend who’s also an attorney, and Andrew represented me to great satisfaction in that case. What impressed me the most about Andrew was his direct straightforward approach, and he has this incredible way of setting you at ease and yet telling you the good and the bad of a situation. I felt that he was very much a straight shooter and lived up to the reputation that preceded him. I would recommend them and Andrew Safranko to anybody in the world. They’re just that class of a group of people.

Chuck Testimonial Transcript
Well, I came to LaMarche Safranko Law because I knew Andy was here and he’s helped me in the past and I just feel so comfortable coming to him because you know you’re going to get the best outcome that you can get in a criminal law field. He’s done such a fabulous job for me and I’ve seen what he does for me, so I’m sure he’ll do the same—put out the same effort and energy and zeal it takes to win their case like he has mine. I would feel very comfortable recommending him.

“Dear Andy,

Thank you so much for everything you have done for our son over the last three years.  This has been a very challenging time for our family and the knowledge that our son has an attorney as capable and amazing as you are has given us peace of mind!

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Parents of a client from Cropseyville, NY

“The arrest of my husband in 2008 was an extremely difficult and emotional time for our family. The arrest turned our lives upside down. It was sudden and unexpected and had tragic emotional as well as financial consequences. I had no idea what to do under the circumstances….

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A client from Upstate New York

“I am an attorney who found himself in the middle of a serious, personal legal matter that compromised not only my personal life but my professional life as well. I immediately contacted Andrew (Andy) Safranko, Esq. Andy worked tirelessly and extremely hard to bring my legal situation to a very favorable resolution. In so doing, Andy not only saved certain aspects of my personal and professional life

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Anonymous Attorney from Albany, NY

“My family and I cannot thank George and his staff enough for all of the support and guidance they have given us over the past six months. Anyone who has ever suffered a personal injury knows how difficult they are to overcome, but I’m glad we had such an intelligent and hardworking attorney on our side so I could focus on my recovery rather than on the details of the case….

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A personal injury client from Waterford, NY

“I cannot thank George E. LaMarche lll and his team for the excellent legal work they provided for my son, and in extension, our entire family. His experience, knowledge of the law, networking ability and communication is second to none. In our case, our son was wrongly accused by a small town police officer and charged with 5 tickets…

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A client from Altamont, NY

“Dear Mr. Safranko,

Thank You so much for answering my question, and so expediently!

The dedication, respect, and consideration with which you treat your clients, current and past, is remarkable. It is why I reached out to you when searching in my time of need, and why I would highly recommend…

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A client from Albany, NY

“The staff at LaMarche Safranko Law took care of  whatever I needed, it was just fabulous. It was top shelf, if I called, I got George. If he was in a meeting, they left him a message. He called me right back after the meeting. Everybody was very courteous and very nice there. If I left a voicemail, everybody got back to me quickly. The level of service  was very, very good and I would Highly recommend them.”

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A personal injury client from Cohoes, NY

“Dear Andrew and George,

I cannot thank you enough for your hard work, diligence, and selfless manner that you put towards my legal difficulties in Colonie. From the first moment I met you, you helped reassure me that things were going to turn out in a more favorable manner than I originally thought. Clearly, the final result of my court case displays the quality of time and work that you put into this….

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A client from Colonie, NY

“I can honestly say that the best decision I’ve ever made was retaining George LaMarche as my attorney. I was in a situation where everything wasat risk; my career, livelihood, and the ability to provide for my family. In desperation, I contacted over a dozen attorneys. The majority of the lawyers I spoke with promised results without seeing paperwork or knowing valuable facts….

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A client from Albany, NY

“I wanted to express my deepest appreciation to Mr. Andrew Safranko for the exceptional job he did in regards to my legal representation. Mr. Safranko displayed the utmost in professionalism and discretion during the entire court process, and took the time to explain each and every step….

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A client from Schenectady, NY

“No one likes to be in a bad situation, but if you need a lawyer George is your man. Not only does he point you in the right direction he offers good advice for your future. As much as we bring him business he does not encourage that next time anticipation….

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A client from Albany, NY

“Dear George, Andy and Staff,

Thank you all for your kindness and all your help in getting back to my wellbeing and life.  I could not have done it without you all.  Everything is going so well again.  I recommend you highly. Thanks Again!”

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A client from Troy, NY

“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent representation on my recent matter. I have worked with lawyers, and in law firms much of my professional life, but I have never encountered the rare mix of skill, integrity and humanity in one individual—you….

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A client from Rensselaer, NY

“Throughout the attorney client relationship regarding my personal injury lawsuit, George and his staff continually exhibited tremendous amounts of legal knowledge, skill, and a vast amount of expert resources that ultimately resulted in a final judgment in my favor.  George was there every step of the way to explain where we stood and what to expect next and there was never a need to question his professional judgment…

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A client from Troy, NY
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