Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Laws

A wrongful death can occur from a number of events of negligence such as car accidents and medical malpractice. When another party is liable for the events that caused the death of a loved one you may be entitled to seek financial and emotional damages, but only if you are within the limits of Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws.

A designated party within the time frame set forth in the Pennsylvania statutes must bring a wrongful death claim for the benefit of parties entitled to recover damages. There are many considerations to be made when seeking compensation for a wrongful death.

Contact an Attorney As Soon As Possible: Time Matters

The Pennsylvania statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is only two years from the date of death. This may seem like a long time, but in some cases a family may not think about investigating their loved one’s death or pursuing a lawsuit until years later when the option no longer remains. The sooner you file a wrongful death claim, the faster you can reach a resolution.

To bring a wrongful death claim against a negligent party the personal representative of the deceased must do so on behalf of those entitled to recover damages. In cases where the decedent was married and the decedent did not name a representative in his or her will, the surviving spouse is typically the personal representative. If there is no spouse, the children or parents are typically the next of kin to serve as a personal representative.

If the wrongful death action is not brought within six months of the death of the decedent, a person entitled by law to recover damages in a wrongful death action as a trustee ad litem may then step forth to pursue the claim. This person must work on behalf of all beneficiaries of the deceased in pursuit of the wrongful death claim.

Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Laws for Settlements

The wrongful death laws state that any settlement from a wrongful death action should be distributed to the applicable beneficiaries. The spouse of the deceased, the deceased’s children, and the deceased’s parents are beneficiaries under the laws.

In the event that there are no eligible beneficiaries, the personal representative may still seek damages in regard to:

  • medical;
  • funeral; and
  • administrative expenses.


Beneficiaries or other family members may challenge settlements for a wrongful death claim if they feel the distribution is unfair or they are entitled to a share of the settlement even if they do not qualify as a beneficiary. In these cases, these parties may challenge a wrongful death settlement in a lawsuit.

Bristol Families Can Get Help from Our Wrongful Death Attorneys

Make your wrongful death case one less worry your family has to contend with while recovering from the loss of your loved one. The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC want to ease the burden of filing and resolving your wrongful death claim so you can concentrate on healing your family. Call 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation with an attorney and learn about your rights to recovery under Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws.