It can be difficult to deal with a loved one’s death, especially when someone else’s negligent action is to blame for your loss. Aside from coping with immense emotional pain, you may be facing financial hardship and other legal concerns. Bringing a wrongful death claim may provide an option for relief. You may be able to seek compensation for your suffering and losses.
A Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can make sure you are aware of your legal position and help you seek a fair financial award. It can be frustrating to try and make sense of your tragedy, but Ben Crump Law, PLLC, is prepared to answer your questions about the legal process. We do not shy away from tough cases, and we operate our services on a contingency fee basis.
Call us at 800-959-1444 to get started with your potential case.
Understanding Wrongful Death Action in Pennsylvania
Wrongful death arises when a person dies following another’s negligence or wrongful act. You may be qualified to bring an action to recover losses for the death of your loved one when this happens.
If you suspect negligence played a role in your loved one’s untimely passing, you may qualify for compensation. Privilege to a legal cause of action does not end with someone’s death. You can think of the wrongful death claim as a personal injury claim which your loved one can no longer bring to court. Instead, the representative of the estate will be the one to obtain compensation for related losses to the fatal injury.
Wrongful Death Statutes That Can Govern Your Case
State laws typically preside over wrongful death issues such as who is qualified to file a claim, the statute of limitations, and available compensation. In Philadelphia, if you are a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, you can file a wrongful death claim for the beneficiaries. A will usually names the estate’s personal representatives, but the court will be in charge of appointing one if the deceased did not have one.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Philadelphia, call 800-593-3443
Who Are Qualified to Recover Damages?
Pennsylvania considers only the representative of the estate or the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased as those eligible to recover damages in a wrongful death claim. When there are no qualifying beneficiaries, a wrongful death claim is not possible. Under the intestacy laws of the state, or 20 PA Cons Stat § 2101 (2014), the will designates the representative of the estate. In the absence of one, the heirs may bring a wrongful death claim.
Statute of Limitations
The time limit that Pennsylvania sets on wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the victim’s death, according to 42 PA Cons Stat § 5524 (2014). Unless an exception applies to your case, the court will no longer hear your claim beyond this period.
Consider working with a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible because certain circumstances can affect how the statutory period runs. Seeking prompt legal advice is one way to ensure that you have the right to legal action and be able to file a valid claim within the deadline.
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Proving Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Much like personal injury suits, wrongful death lawsuits rely heavily on evidence establishing the defendant’s negligence. The amount that the court awards to plaintiffs for damages will depend on factors like the deceased person’s future earnings, expected lifespan, and other related expenses. Thus, it is crucial to collect and preserve evidence early on to obtain maximum compensation.
When you bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Philadelphia, you generally have to prove what your deceased loved one would have needed to prove. For example, if a hazardous condition on a site caused the death of your loved one, you should show that the property owner was negligent in his or her duty to keep the premises safe. It can be challenging to establish the elements of a claim, but the legal assistance of a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can be invaluable when it comes to proving liability.
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Types of Damages You Can Recover
If you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the following awards may be available to you:
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages had the deceased lived
- Estate administration expenses
- Loss of companionship, comfort, and guidance
Pennsylvania also allows a decedent’s family to recover non-economic damages such as psychological and emotional loss. This is exceedingly valuable for parents who have lost a child due to a wrongful act and would not particularly benefit from economic damages.
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You Can Count on Us Throughout This Difficult Time
We know that no amount of financial compensation can replace the loss of a loved one. Nevertheless, we believe that you still deserve justice and compensation that will give you some degree of closure and peace of mind. Let a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, lend a hand in helping you understand your case and provide the compassionate legal support you need.
Call our office today at 800-959-1444 to tell us more about your concern. We will review your case free of charge, and we only collect payment if we win an award in your favor.
Call or text 800-593-3443 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form