It is almost a certainty that those who have lost a loved one in an accident are not thinking about filing a wrongful death claim.
The grief following the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming, and the last thing anyone wants to think about then is dealing with an insurance company or filing a claim against the careless party. While it is true that wrongful death claims are not easy due to the unwanted memories of the incident which necessitates the claim in the first place, wrongful death claims are often necessary. Frequently, those who are left behind (spouse, child, etc.) following a wrongful death depended – partially or entirely – on the decedent for financial support.
Obviously, nobody wants to dwell on the financial aspects of the loss of a loved one; yet such considerations are required in many instances. Aside from being compensated financially for the loss of a loved one, there is also the issue of punishment of the liable party. Particularly in medical malpractice wrongful death cases, which can be the result of willful or malicious actions on the part of a medical professional, punitive damages may be warranted. Punitive damages are meant to serve as both a punishment and a deterrent to others for the same or similar types of careless conduct. Whether you have lost a loved one as the result of the negligence of another or as the result of medical malpractice, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in the State of Pennsylvania?
In the state of Pennsylvania, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the Estate of the decedent. While a wrongful death claim is brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s Estate, that claim is brought on behalf of all of the beneficiaries of the deceased person. If a personal representative fails to move forward with or file a wrongful death claim after the decedent’s death, any beneficiary may file the claim on behalf of all of the beneficiaries.
Proving Wrongful Death in the State of Pennsylvania
Negligence may have occurred when unreasonable conduct results in a fatality. Negligence, when applied to a wrongful death claim, refers to the manner in which a reasonable person or a medical professional would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. A claimant is required to show that there was a duty of care owed to the deceased, that this duty was breached, that these wrongful actions resulted in death, and that actual damages resulted from that death. When you file a wrongful death claim, the party directly responsible for the wrongful death will be identified; then it must be proven that this person’s careless behavior was the direct cause of the decedent’s death.
Damages You May Be Entitled to in Your Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims translate a defendant’s liability into monetary terms, unlike a criminal case which could potentially result in a prison sentence or monetary penalties such as fines or restitution.
Some of the damages which may be available in a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim include the following:
- Medical expenses related to the accident and subsequent death;
- Burial and funeral expenses;
- Expenses related to Estate administration;
- Lost wages, both present and future (the amount the deceased would have reasonably contributed toward the support of family members if s/he had lived);
- In some instances, compensation for the loss of comfort and guidance provided by the deceased as well as the loss of household services; and
- Pain and suffering compensation.
Contact Our Compassionate Wrongful Death Lawyers
If your loved one died as the result of negligence on the part of another person, or a medical professional, it is important that you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney to determine whether you have standing to bring the claim, and how your claim will proceed. The experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you and for your family throughout the legal process.
The wrongful death attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 100 years of experience representing families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton counties. We are also proud to serve wrongful death victims, families, and consumers throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today at 1-855-633-6251 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.