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Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event that causes severe or catastrophic injury to someone we care about is unimaginable to most of us. An accident or injury that results in death may leave survivors depressed, confused, and placed in financial jeopardy. Part of the basis of the civil law system is to allocate fault so the people who are responsible for causing bad things are held accountable for their actions. In a wrongful death case, the surviving family is often simply looking for answers. In some cases, families may file suit to prevent this type of harm from happening to someone else in the future. Regardless of the rationale behind the lawsuit, wrongdoers are held responsible and must often pay for the harm they caused. A wrongful death case may commence when a person loses their life due to the carelessness, negligence, or recklessness of another person or entity. It may be the result of an accident, defective product or criminal behavior.

Estates and Wrongful Death

When someone dies, all of their existing bank accounts, assets, property, and securities are now in what is known as an “estate.” Usually, people leave behind wills, trusts, or other documents indicating how these assets should be distributed among surviving family. Wills appoint someone known as an “executor,” who becomes responsible for allocating the assets among the rightful parties. If no specific executor is named or the appointed executor is unable to perform the duties of carrying out the estate, an “administrator” will be appointed pursuant to Pennsylvania law.

This is an important concept to understand in a wrongful death case. Since the deceased party is unable to represent themselves, it becomes the responsibility of the “personal representative” of the estate to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual. This personal representative is the executor or administrator of the estate. According to Rule 2202 of the Pennsylvania Code: “[A]n action for wrongful death shall be brought only be the personal representative of the decedent for the benefit of those persons entitled by law to recover damages for such wrongful death.” Surviving parents, children, or spouses may also be entitled by law to bring such lawsuits.


It is important to note that the monetary damages in a wrongful death case are designed to compensate the survivors, not the deceased individual. Thus, a person bringing a wrongful death action on behalf of another will not be permitted to recover damages for pain and suffering of the deceased individual. Compensation may be provided to cover estate administration costs, loss of income the decedent provided for the family, funeral and burial expenses, or medical expenses incurred prior to the person’s death as a result of the injuries he or she sustained. Importantly, individuals bringing wrongful death lawsuits may also have claims for loss of consortium, that is, the loss of love and affection.

Philadelphia Area Wrongful Death Attorneys

The amount and type of damages you may be able to recover depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. Most of the time, litigation is sought to provide some type of closure and an opportunity to learn what happened, why, and how it can be prevented from harming others in the future. At Solnick & Levin, LLC, our experienced wrongful death attorneys understand that no amount of compensation will bring back your loved one. Our trained professionals know how to provide you with the financial recourse you are entitled to under the law and will able able to help guide you through this difficult time.  If you or anyone you know has lost a loved one due to the actions of another, learn more about wrongful death case options today.


Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Law

November 21, 2014

The Pennsylvania Senate recently unanimously voted in favor of drunk driving legislation that will affect some first-time offenders. This legislation is the first that has amended Pennsylvania’s drunk driving laws in a decade. It is expected this legislation will also pass in the House, although it should be noted that this has not yet officially […]

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Social Security and Workers’ Compensation: Eligibility for Both?

November 14, 2014

Workers’ compensation. Social Security disability. Supplemental Security Income. Some or all of these forms of payment may come into play if you become disabled, are injured at work, or if you can no longer work in the same capacity you once did before your injury. It can be very confusing navigating the Social Security system, […]

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Auto Accident Litigation: There is No Such Thing as a “Minor” Accident

November 12, 2014

A fender bender. Bumps and bruises. “I’m okay.” These are a few of the things people to say when they were involved in “minor” accidents. Just recently, Pennsylvania’s own State Attorney General Kathleen Kane was involved in what would be considered by most a minor car accident. A backseat passenger, Attorney General Kane hit her […]

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Trucking Accidents in Pennsylvania

November 7, 2014

As fall fades to winter, we have more than a few new things to worry about. Pennsylvania will be faced with a harsh winter soon enough, and now is as good of a time as ever to brush up on driving safety. Even though more accidents occur during the day, also consider that it gets […]

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The Home Office: Blurring The Lines in Workers’ Compensation Cases

November 5, 2014

“Yes, I’m working from home today.” This sentence seems to become more commonplace in today’s society since nearly a quarter of U.S. workers complete at least some of their work from home. Workers’ compensation, a type of insurance most employers are required to carry in the event of employee injury, is severely complicated by this […]

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Premises Liability: Slip & Fall Accidents

October 23, 2014

When you go over to your friend’s house, you are there as a visitor. Usually, if you were invited that makes you a licensee. When you show up at a restaurant, store, or similar location, you are considered an invitee. These are legal words that simply dictate the level of responsibility an owner has to […]

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Hard Hat Area: Construction Injuries

October 21, 2014

Construction accidents are among the most common and catastrophic of all workers’ compensation claims. Considered one of the most dangerous workplaces for American workers, over 20 percent of work-related injuries were in construction in 2013. Four primary causes accounted for more than half of construction worker deaths last year: falls, being struck by an object, […]

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Public Transit in Philadelphia: On the Rise

October 17, 2014

Offering an assortment of trains, busses, trolleys, and shuttles, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) seems to really have it together. Just this month, Philadelphia Magazine reported a four percent increase in ridership on regional rail trains this year and a fifty percent increase since fifteen years ago. Additionally, this summer, SEPTA decided to extend […]

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Social Security Claims in Pennsylvania

October 15, 2014

When you are struck with illness or long-term disability, you may be unable to work. If injured while at work, you may have a workers’ compensation case—a legal claim that pays employees a portion of their salary from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The vast majority of the time, however, injuries and serious medical conditions […]

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