Wrongful Death Accident Help
Losing a loved one is devastating and traumatizing. A death becomes particularly heartbreaking when it was caused by someone else's negligence or wrongdoing. In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought when a person dies as a result of another's negligence or wrongdoing. The loss of a loved one can be both emotionally and financially devastating, particularly if the decedent was a wage earner or the breadwinner for the family.
The Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at KaplunMarx PLLC strive to help ensure that your family receives maximum compensation for the emotional and financial losses sustained. We also fight hard to make sure that the at-fault parties are held accountable for their negligence and/or wrongdoing. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys have successfully assisted a number of families that have lost loved ones and helped them gain a sense of financial security.
Potential Wrongful Death Cases
There are a number of fatal incidents that could potentially lead to wrongful death cases including, but not limited to:
A car, bus, train or truck accident is often caused by a driver's recklessness or negligence. For example, a driver who is drunk, distracted, speeding or driving in an unsafe manner could cause a crash that results in fatal injuries. Truck accidents also have the potential to result in fatalities. Passengers or occupants of the smaller vehicles often suffer the more serious injuries in truck accidents.
When medical professionals or hospital staff members take actions that are not supported by best practices, the consequences could be fatal.
When a car strikes a pedestrian, it is highly likely that the pedestrian suffers the more serious injuries. Pedestrian accidents often result in fatalities.
When we think about slip-and-fall accidents, we often don't think about fatalities. However, such incidents could result in injuries that prove to be catastrophic or even deadly.
Wrongful Death Versus Survival Action
There are two different types of civil litigation that could arise when a person is wrongfully killed by the negligent actions of another. A wrongful death action essentially deals with the losses sustained by surviving family members. A survival action, on the other hand, focuses on the losses the decedent would have sustained had he or she survived the incident that caused his or her fatal injuries. While immediate family members may bring wrongful death actions, only personal representatives or executors of the decedent's estate can bring survival actions. The statute of limitations for both types of actions is two years in Pennsylvania.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in PA?
In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death claim is filed by a personal representative of the decedent's estate on behalf of survivors. However, if the personal representative does not file the wrongful death claim within six months of the date of death, any of the beneficiaries of the decedent's estate may file the claim. As opposed to a criminal case where the defendant is found "guilty" and handed down prison time and other penalties, the defendant in a wrongful death action is held "liable" for monetary damages.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Philadelphia may be filed by survivors of the decedent including spouse, partner, children, parents, siblings or anyone who was financially dependent on the decedent. Damages that are available in a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit include hospital and medical expenses incurred by the decedent before death; funeral and burial costs; lost wages and benefits; compensation for the loss of household services, society and comfort provided by the deceased; and compensation for pain and suffering.
Damages such as "loss of comfort, companionship and guidance" are categorized as noneconomic damages in a wrongful death action and are intended to compensate surviving family members for their losses related to the untimely death. Such damages are often available only to survivors such as a spouse, children or parents. On the other hand, economic damages such as funeral and burial expenses, medical costs and estate administration fees may be sought by the personal representative of the estate even if there are no surviving spouse, children or parents.
Statutes of Limitations
Pennsylvania sets a time limit or what is known as "statute of limitations" on wrongful death and other personal injury claims filed in its court system. Under Pennsylvania law, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. Unless there are some exceptions in your case, generally speaking, a wrongful death claim that is not filed within two years of the decedent's death will not be heard by the court. If you have questions regarding how the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania affects your case, it is crucial that you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney who can provide you with more information.
If You Have Lost a Loved One
If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing in Pennsylvania, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for your losses. In addition to compensatory damages, there are cases where you may also be able to seek punitive damages. This is particularly true in cases where the defendant's actions (which led to the death) were egregious.
As Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys who routinely assist those who have lost loved ones, we understand that this can be a harrowing process for everyone involved, particularly survivors who are already devastated as they mourn the loss of a beloved family member. Wrongful death lawsuits are not only a way for those who have lost loved ones to secure the monetary support they need during a very difficult time, but it is also a way to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions, or in some cases, the lack of action.
The Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers at KaplunMarx PLLC have more than 25 years of combined experience. We are not afraid to take on large insurance companies and have a successful track record of handling the most complex personal injury and wrongful death cases. We provide quality legal representation and compassionate care to all our clients while striving to secure maximum dollars for your case. We have obtained millions of dollars in awards for our clients. Call us for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.
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