WHY FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
In the state of Pennsylvania, the purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to seek compensation for family members for the harm they have suffered due to the loss of their loved ones. Damages are calculated from the time of the individual’s death until the end of their expected life span had the accident never happened. The types of losses that family members are eligible to pursue include:
- Financial support the deceased individual would have provided to the family for things such as food, clothing, education, and more.
- Loss of income the deceased individual would have likely earned for the family.
- Loss of the deceased individual’s guidance, companionship, and emotional support. Spouses can also pursue compensation for the loss of love and intimacy.
WHAT CONSTITUTES WRONGFUL
DEATH IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Like most states, Pennsylvania law is clear on wrongful death cases. Under Pennsylvania law, death is considered a wrongful death if a person was killed because of someone else’s acts that the law considers negligent, wrongful, or illegally violent.
Some examples of wrongful death claims include:
- A person who dies from a gunshot wound.
- A negligent medical mistake.
- A car accident where the other driver was negligent.
Usually, you have to file within two years of the death. If you miss the deadline, you cannot file, so it is crucial to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
WHO CAN FILE A WRONGFUL
DEATH CLAIM IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Wrongful death suits are designed to assist grieving families with a financial burden, among other remedies. The law recognizes that it is unfair for grieving family members to suffer financially when neither they nor the deceased are to blame; therefore, Pennsylvania law allows the personal representative of the estate to bring a lawsuit for compensation on behalf of:
- The victim’s spouse.
- The victim’s minor children.
- Adult children who were dependent on the victim.
- The victim’s parents.
Damages in a successful wrongful death lawsuit typically go to the deceased person's survivors or estate. In Pennsylvania, damages can be awarded to compensate for a range of losses, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Hospital and medical expenses.
- Estate administration expenses.
- Lost wages or benefits, such as income the deceased person could have been expected to earn if they had lived
- Loss of the deceased individual's support, company, comfort, and guidance.
In Pennsylvania, damages are awarded in an attempt to compensate the victim’s surviving spouse, children, and or parents for their loss. Even if there aren’t any surviving immediate family members (such as a spouse, child, or parent), the personal representative designated for the decedent’s estate can still pursue a wrongful death claim for funeral expenses, outstanding medical bills, or expenses related to the administration of the estate.