Grieving the Loss of a Loved One? Learn More About Your Options in a Free Consultation

Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyers

Representing Wrongful Death Cases Nationwide

Losing a loved one is always very difficult, but it's even more tragic when the death is caused by the negligent actions of another. If you have experienced such a loss, you may have questions about what you can do to seek justice and fair compensation. Our Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys at Golomb Legal are here to help you through this difficult time.

The best way to learn about your rights and options is to speak with one of our wrongful death lawyers. Please call (215) 278-4449 today to schedule a free consultation. We handle these cases nationwide from our office in Philadelphia.

What is wrongful death?

When the negligent actions of an individual or corporation result in the death of another, it is considered a wrongful death. It allows the deceased person's family or estate to seek compensation for the damages resulting from the death.

In Pennsylvania, to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, certain elements typically need to be proven:

  • Duty of Care: The plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For instance, in a car accident, all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to drive safely.
  • Breach of Duty: It must be shown that the defendant breached their duty of care, i.e., they acted negligently or recklessly. For example, if a driver ran a red light and caused the accident leading to the death.
  • Causation: There needs to be a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty and the death of the individual. The defendant's actions must be proven to have directly caused the death.
  • Damages: The death must have caused quantifiable damages to the surviving family members or the estate. This can include financial losses, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, as well as emotional suffering and loss of companionship.

Our wrongful death attorneys have decades of legal experience handling these complex cases. We have witnessed the devastation caused by wrongful death, and we understand the challenges you are facing at this moment. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to get you the answers you need, and we will fight aggressively to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death can be caused by virtually any type of personal injury case.

Some of the most common causes include:

We understand that there is no amount of money that can truly compensate you for the loss of your loved one. But a wrongful death settlement can help you and your family stay financially afloat during this difficult time, and it can ensure that you are provided for in the absence of your loved one.

WHo Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennslyvania?

In Pennsylvania, the right to file a wrongful death claim is typically granted to the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. This representative is usually named in the deceased person's will or appointed by the court. If there's no appointed representative, the court may assign one.

As for the beneficiaries who can benefit from a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania, they're defined under the state's wrongful death statute. Beneficiaries typically include the deceased person's:

  • Spouse and Children: The spouse and children are primary beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim.
  • Parents: If the deceased person had no spouse or children, the next in line as beneficiaries would typically be the parents.
  • Other Dependents: In cases where the deceased had no spouse, children, or parents, individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased may be considered beneficiaries. This could include siblings or other relatives who were dependent on the deceased for support.

The distribution among these beneficiaries is usually determined by the court if there's no specific instruction in the deceased person's will or estate plan.

Calculating Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

In the event of a wrongful death, the surviving family members of the deceased may be entitled to recover compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of benefits
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship

Calculating damages in a wrongful death case is often more challenging than with other types of personal injury cases. This is especially true when the victim is young and had many of their earning years ahead of them.

At Golomb Legal, our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers work with financial analysts, economists, and other experts who can demonstrate the true value of your claim.

Philadelphia Wrongful Death FAQ

What happens if an accident victim dies after starting a personal injury claim?

If an accident victim files a personal injury claim but then succumbs to their injuries, then the case can become a wrongful death claim. Although personal injury claims and wrongful death cases are similar, there are enough technical differences that should prompt you to work with a wrongful death attorney in particular.

Can I get punitive damages for a wrongful death claim?

Punitive damage is a type of damage used by the court to punish the defendant for criminal wrongdoing or egregious negligence. It is rare for a court to approve punitive damages, though, even in a wrongful death case. We can see if punitive damages would apply to your case, but we must be honest and transparent if we don’t think it will be possible.

Can you file a wrongful death claim if the deceased person did not earn income?

Wrongful death claims can seek compensation for many types of losses, damages, and grief. Even if the person who passed away did not make an income or contribute to the household in tangible “service-related” ways, you could still have a right to compensation and justice.

How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take?

Every wrongful death lawsuit takes a unique amount of time to conclude. Some cases might finish in under a year if settlement negotiations are successful. Other cases could take much longer, especially if the case moves to litigation. We can’t guarantee how long your wrongful death case will take, but we can tell you that we will do everything in our power to avoid unnecessary obstacles and delays as your case progresses.

What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action in Pennsylvania?

A wrongful death claim seeks damages on behalf of the surviving family members or beneficiaries for their losses due to the death of their loved one. On the other hand, a survival action is brought by the estate to recover damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived, such as pain and suffering before death or lost wages.

Can I file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action for the same incident in Pennsylvania?

Yes, it's possible to file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action for the same incident. These actions address different aspects of the damages resulting from the death and may be pursued simultaneously.

What if the deceased was partially at fault for the incident leading to their death?

Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence system. If the deceased was partially at fault, the damages awarded in a wrongful death case may be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. However, if the deceased's fault is determined to be greater than the defendant's, it might bar recovery in Pennsylvania.

Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit if the responsible party has already faced criminal charges for the death?

Yes, you can still file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the responsible party has faced criminal charges. Civil lawsuits (like wrongful death claims) operate separately from criminal cases, and the standards of proof and objectives differ between the two.

What evidence is essential in proving a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania?

Evidence crucial to proving a wrongful death claim may include accident reports, medical records, witness testimonies, expert opinions, financial documentation, and any other evidence that establishes the defendant's negligence or liability.

If you have a wrongful death case, please contact Golomb Legal today at (215) 278-4449 to schedule your free consultation. We represent clients nationwide from our offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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