Families who are recovering from the loss of a loved one have many concerns and details to manage. In addition to the grieving process, which is not easy for anyone, there are financial details, funeral expenses and other costs family members and loved ones incur.
When a loved one is lost due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another person, feelings of anger and confusion can accompany the grieving process, and many victims in this scenario feel helpless and overwhelmed.
Wrongful death statutes in the state of Pennsylvania protect the interests of the survivors after a loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence. A personal representative of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim for the benefit of beneficiaries. Wrongful death claims often are the result of medical malpractice suits, car accidents, faulty equipment accidents, criminal acts, and any other type of fatality caused by the actions of another person or entity. Our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers help families facing these cases manage their claims and recover damages.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Pennsylvania wrongful death statute 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8301(c) has established the type of damages recovered by affected family members after a wrongful death occurs. The following types of losses can be included in a lawsuit brought against the liable party.
- Hospital bills
- Nursing expenses
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Administrative costs
- Loss of financial support from the deceased
- Loss of companionship and/or comfort
- Loss of parental guidance
Meanwhile, a survival action under 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8302 allows the personal representative to continue a personal injury claim on the deceased’s behalf. This recovers damages incurred by the deceased prior to death. Work with Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys to establish the type of recoverable damages in either claim.
Beneficiaries in a Wrongful Death Suit
The state of Pennsylvania allows close family members to recover damages and losses related to a wrongful death. The following individuals may be entitled to damages in wrongful death lawsuits.
- Spouses: A spouse can bring a wrongful death suit against the responsible party for damages such as medical and funeral expenses, as well as loss of financial support and loss of companionship.
- Dependent Children: Children may suffer greatly after the loss of a parent. Dependent children may be entitled to compensation for loss of parental support and guidance and more.
- Parents: Depending on the age of the deceased and the personal circumstances of the family prior to the wrongful death, parents may be able to seek reimbursement for associated losses under wrongful death laws.
Damages in a survival action are recovered by the estate and are distributed based on the deceased’s will. If there is no will, then distribution follows state law. Our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers can help families ensure that distribution of any damages is just and within the scope of the law.
Liable Parties in a Wrongful Death Suit
There are multiple possibilities for the responsible party in a wrongful death. Liability may be placed with an individual, manufacturer, government entity or private company. The circumstances surrounding the death will dictate which party might be responsible for damages the family suffers. Below are some examples of parties that may be liable in a wrongful death suit.
- A drunk driver, and in some cases, a bar or restaurant after a bartender served alcohol to the visibly drunk patron involved in a fatal crash.
- A government agency that failed to properly maintain a roadway, causing a fatal accident.
- A childcare worker who was neglectful in caring for a child who was fatally injured.
- A hospital or physician involved in a medical malpractice death.
- A manufacturer that produced faulty equipment that caused a fatal accident.
Talk to Our Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyers about Your Claim
If you’ve lost a loved one due to the wrongdoing or neglectful actions of another person, company or government agency, you may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for your losses. You don’t need to manage this complex legal undertaking alone.