Easton Wrongful Death Lawyer
Some accident victims are fortunate enough to walk away from their experience with only minor scrapes and bruises, or even with no injuries at all. Many, unfortunately, are not so lucky and may end up actually losing their lives as a result of their injuries. While no amount of money can compensate a family for the unexpected loss of a loved one, recovering wrongful death damages can help grieving family members pay off medical debt and cover other expenses while they begin the long road to recovery. For help navigating a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania, consider reaching out to an experienced and compassionate Easton wrongful death lawyer today.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Under Pennsylvania law, a wrongful death is one that is caused by someone else’s:
- Wrongful act;
- Unlawful violence; or
Basically, a wrongful death occurs when someone passes away because of another person’s carelessness or intentional act. One way to think of these types of cases is as a personal injury lawsuit, where the victim is no longer able to file a claim on his or her own behalf. Instead, another party will need to step in and file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. As with personal injury lawsuits, the at-fault party’s liability will be expressed in terms of financial compensation, or damages, which a court will order the defendant to pay to the victim’s surviving relatives. Unlike a criminal trial, someone found liable for wrongful death will not face criminal penalties, like jail time.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Pennsylvania, only the personal representative (executor) of a decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on that person’s behalf. If, however, the personal representative doesn’t file suit within six months of the decedent’s death, then any of the victim’s beneficiaries can file a claim for the benefit of all beneficiaries.
What are Wrongful Death Damages?
If a plaintiff can prove that a person is liable for wrongful death, then he or she could be entitled to wrongful death damages, which could include reimbursement for:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Hospital and medical expenses stemming from the victim’s last illness or injury;
- Lost wages and benefits, including amounts that the decedent would reasonably have been expected to earn had he or she survived;
- The cost of administering the decedent’s estate; and
- The loss of the decedent’s household services, comfort, and guidance.
In wrongful death cases, these damages are typically awarded to the deceased’s surviving spouse and/or children, although surviving parents could also be entitled to damages. To recover this type of financial compensation, however, the decedent’s surviving relatives will need to file a civil lawsuit within two years of the date of the victim’s death.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
If you are thinking about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you could be facing an uphill legal battle and an emotional undertaking. For help shouldering this burden and improving your chances of filing a successful claim, call the dedicated and compassionate Easton wrongful death lawyer at O’Donnell Law Offices today. You can set up a consultation by calling our office at 570-821-5717 or by completing an online contact form.