Beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania include:
- a spouse;
- children; and
Surviving family members pursuing a claim should also be aware of the types of damages they may pursue in a case of wrongful death in Pennsylvania. With a variety of complex issues that can be factored into this type of case, it may be beneficial to seek legal advice about wrongful death cases in Pennsylvania with an accident attorney in Newtown.
Who has the right to be named as a beneficiary in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Any settlements awarded in a case of wrongful death in Pennsylvania are distributed according to priority, which an accident attorney in Newtown can help sort out and explain on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if there are no children or parents, then all damages in the wrongful death lawsuit are recovered by the spouse.
If the deceased had children, the spouse is entitled to half of the estate, plus an additional $30,000, if he or she is the biological parent of the children. If not, the spouse only receives half of the estate. The remainder is divided equally between the children.
Beneficiary laws in Pennsylvania stipulate that when are there are children but no spouse, they are entitled to the entire estate. Again, this is divided equally. If no children or spouse, the parents share the award equally. If there is no spouse, children or parents, then siblings or their children may be entitled to the estate.
What types of compensation are beneficiaries entitled to receive?
Generally, damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are awarded to cover the financial costs related to medical care and treatment, along with reasonable funeral expenses. This is only the case if such damages were not obtained by the deceased individual during his or her lifetime.
So if the victim of a car accident recovers damages for hospital care, for example, in a personal injury claim, those damages may not be pursued in a case for wrongful death in Pennsylvania if the victim later dies of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Meanwhile, if there is no spouse, children or parents to recover damages, a personal representative of the deceased’s estates may only recover damages on the behalf of the victim:
- funeral expenses; and
- any administration expenses made necessary by the fatal injuries.
Non-economic damages may be awarded in wrongful death cases as well. For example, spouses may be entitled to loss of consortium damages, which address the loss of companionship and other losses. Damages for mental anguish may also be pursued with a Pennsylvania accident attorney in Newtown.
Legal Help from a Pennsylvania Accident Attorney in Newtown
Families of victims in Pennsylvania can seek consultation with an accident attorney in Newtown from Cordisco & Saile LLC. A lawyer can collect necessary evidence to demonstrate fault for a fatal accident, and can help build a case to recover damages in a case for wrongful death in Pennsylvania.
Families with questions regarding beneficiaries or damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit can call 215-642-2335 to set up an appointment.