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Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania

While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws allow defendants to claim monetary compensation that can help alleviate some of the financial challenges arising from the loss.

A wrongful death is said to have occurred when a person is killed due to the negligent or reckless actions of another.  Such a death can occur as the result of motor vehicle and trucking accidents, the use of defective products, or workplace accidents.  Not every negligent action that results in death may be eligible for a wrongful action.  For a successful action, it is important to show that the death was caused by the negligent or willful action or omission of another.

Who can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Compensation to survivors of the deceased may depend on a number of factors.  First of all, it is important to determine which of the survivors are eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.  Typically, a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit can name the parents, children or spouse of the deceased as beneficiaries.  Parents who want to file a wrongful death lawsuit must prove that they were at least partly financially dependent on their child at the time of the death.

Under Pennsylvania law, a personal representative of the deceased may also file a wrongful death lawsuit.  The personal representative may be appointed by the state to represent the beneficiaries.

Types of Compensation

Beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit can be eligible for a number of damages that include the loss of financial and economic support, and the loss of the deceased’s love and affection.  Survivors may also claim damages for reasonable medical expense that were incurred before the person’s death, as well as certain funeral and burial expenses.  A wrongful death lawsuit can also sometimes include damages for estate administration expenses.

A wrongful death lawsuit does not include damages for pain and suffering for the deceased, because the damages that are claimed are meant to compensate the survivors, and not the deceased.

Statute of Limitations

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations to bring an action for wrongful death is 2 years from the date of the death.  It’s very important to begin the process of filing a lawsuit as quickly as possible, because your action may be nullified once the statute limitations has passed.

The Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers at Solnick and Levin help survivors of persons killed in auto accidents, industrial accidents or from the use of defective products recover wrongful death benefits.