June 30, 2023 | Uncategorized

Who Can Claim a Wrongful Death?

wrongful death doctor talk and patient medical working at officeNavigating the turbulent waters of grief after losing a loved one can be heart-wrenching. When death results from someone’s negligence or intentional act, the emotional impact is magnified. This is where the concept of wrongful death comes into play. At the Sharma Law Office, we understand how crucial it is to seek justice in such tragic circumstances.

Wrongful Death in PA

Wrongful death in Pennsylvania, as outlined under the 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated (PA CSA) §8301, is the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another. These circumstances can include car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and many more. This statute not only seeks to hold the guilty party accountable but also provides an avenue for the decedent’s family to receive financial compensation for their untimely loss.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The Pennsylvania wrongful death statute provides that a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This is often the executor of the will or an administrator appointed by the court if the deceased didn’t leave a will.

The benefits from the claim are explicitly for the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased, who can also make the claim themselves. In the absence of a spouse and children, parents can claim, and vice versa. The distribution of these benefits is then determined as per Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws.

What Happens if There Are No Beneficiaries

If there are no eligible claimants (spouse, children, or parents), the personal representative can hold the claim for up to six months. After this period, if no eligible claimant comes forward, the representative can claim on behalf of the estate. Any damages recovered will then go to the estate and be distributed according to the intestacy laws.

Statute of Limitations of Wrongful Death Claims

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the death. This means that eligible family members or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must file the wrongful death lawsuit within two years following the death.

Preparing a wrongful death claim can be complex and time-consuming as it often involves substantial fact-finding, gathering of evidence, and expert testimony. Starting this process early with the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney can increase the chances of filing the claim within the statute of limitations and securing rightful compensation.

Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death

In Pennsylvania, the damages recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit are designed to provide financial compensation to the deceased’s family members for the losses they have suffered due to the untimely death of their loved one. This compensation aims to alleviate the financial burden that comes with such a tragic event.

  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: The costs associated with the deceased’s funeral and burial can be recovered.
  • Medical Expenses: If the deceased received medical treatment for their injuries before passing away, those costs could be recoverable.
  • Lost Wages and Benefits: The family can seek to recover the earnings that the deceased would have contributed to the family if they had lived.
  • Loss of Services, Society, and Comfort: This damage is meant to compensate the family for the loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, comfort, guidance, and care.
  • Pain and Suffering: If the deceased experienced pain and suffering before their death, the family might be able to recover damages for this as well.
  • Punitive Damages: These damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless.

It’s important to note that the exact damages recoverable can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the relationships of the surviving family members to the deceased.

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Knowing how to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania is crucial. The process commences with the filing of a complaint. This complaint must contain all relevant facts about the case, including details of the negligent act and the resulting damages.

Remember, time is of the essence. The Pennsylvania wrongful death statute of limitations dictates that these claims must be filed within two years of the death. Any delay could result in the claim being barred, emphasizing the need to act quickly.

Talk to a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

While no amount of compensation can truly make up for the loss of a loved one, pursuing a wrongful death claim is a vital step toward justice and potential financial relief. If you are in this difficult situation, you don’t have to walk this journey alone. Reach out to our dedicated and experienced team at the Sharma Law Office.