Do You Have Grounds for a Wrongful Death Suit?

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through. It becomes even more painful when someone else's negligence or wrongdoing caused the death. In such cases, the deceased’s family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

This blog post will explain what wrongful death is and how surviving family members can claim damages in a lawsuit.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a situation where someone dies due to the negligent or wrongful act of another person. Wrongful death lawsuits fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. Examples of situations where wrongful death claims can be filed include car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, exposure to toxic substances, and criminal acts.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit filed by the deceased person's personal representative on behalf of the parties entitled to recover damages (231 Pa. Code § 2202). The purpose of the lawsuit is to recover compensation for the financial and emotional losses that the family has suffered due to the death.

In Pennsylvania, the time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the deceased's passing. It's essential to note that missing this deadline can result in being unable to file a lawsuit in the future. Therefore, acting promptly is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, and it is important for families to understand their legal options for seeking justice and compensation. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members may be able to recover damages for various losses incurred due to the death, including economic and non-economic losses.

These damages typically include the following:

  • Funeral expenses: This includes the cost of the funeral, burial, and related services.
  • Lost financial support: This includes the income the deceased person would have earned had they not died.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensates the family for the emotional pain and suffering they have experienced due to the death.
  • Emotional distress: This compensates the family for any psychological harm they have suffered due to the death.
  • Punitive damages: This is awarded in cases where the wrongful act was particularly reckless or malicious.

It is important to note that the damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit will vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine what damages you may be entitled to.

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Filing a wrongful death claim can be complicated, and it is critical that you adhere to the judicial process exactly. Therefore, if you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you throughout the process. Your lawyer can help you gather evidence, prepare and file the necessary paperwork, and represent you in negotiations or in court. Your attorney may also work with experts to calculate the damages you are entitled to.

When looking for a wrongful death attorney, we encourage you to take these steps:

  • Asking for referrals from trusted family, friends, or coworkers
  • Look for an attorney that is experienced in wrongful death cases
  • Look for a law firm that has the resources to manage your case from start to finish
  • Schedule a consultation with any attorney you are considering working with
  • Ask any and all questions, including what their fees are and what you can expect when working with them

If you have lost a loved one due to another person's negligence or wrongdoing, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Though you will never be able to get your loved one back, a successful lawsuit can provide you with the financial compensation you need to move forward.

Contact the experienced wrongful death attorneys at Golomb Spirt Grunfed, P.C., to learn more about your legal options. Our Philadelphia-based law firm is highly skilled, and we are prepared to help you with your case today.