No one ever imagines they will suddenly lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence. When this happens, victims’ families in Pennsylvania may be entitled to seek compensation for the losses they suffered. If your family is recovering after a loss in Montour County, a Danville wrongful death lawyer from Stapp Law, LLC is available to help. We offer free consultations to families searching for legal options. We always provide honest, caring, and experienced legal guidance to support your family through the most difficult times. No family should be made to bear the enormous financial burden of another party’s wrongdoing.
What Is Wrongful Death?
The state of Pennsylvania defines wrongful death as a death that was caused by the wrongful actions or neglect, unlawful violence, or negligence of another party. If the victim had lived, they would have been entitled to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the injury. But because they did not survive, a personal representative of the estate may represent the family members or beneficiaries of the decedent (deceased individual) in taking legal action. In cases in which the decedent was killed through unlawful violence, the at-fault party may additionally face criminal charges.
A wrongful death claim is often an important step towards recovery for surviving family members. As families struggle to recover emotionally from the unexpected loss of a loved one, they often labor under the steep costs of medical care and funeral expenses suddenly placed upon them. Wrongful death laws exist so that families in situations like these are not made to suffer the financial consequences of another party’s negligent or wrongful actions. To prove wrongful death occurred, a Danville wrongful death lawyer from our law firm will work to establish that the at-fault party acted negligently, that this negligence led to the death of the decedent, and that your family (as the beneficiaries) suffered damages as a result.
Another aspect of wrongful death law is that it holds negligent parties accountable for their harmful actions. Many families are able to achieve a sense of justice when attention is brought to the devastating wrongdoing that might otherwise be allowed to continue. If a family loses someone in a drunk driving accident, a spouse is lost because of a preventable medical error, or a parent who supports their family is killed by faulty equipment at work, action should be taken to prevent these types of accidents from happening again. A great deal of important progress in state, federal, and local legislation has come from wrongful death cases like these. At our law firm, wrongful death lawyers work to shed light on the ongoing issues plaguing our communities in Danville and Montour County.
While a wrongful death can result from any type of negligence, there are some types of accidents that most commonly result in wrongful death. These accident include:
- Automobile accidents (car, truck, or motorcycle accident)
- Medical malpractice
- Construction site accidents
- Defective products
- Nursing home abuse
- Dangerous premises
What Damages May Be Recovered After Wrongful Death?
For many people, the idea of seeking compensation after the death of a loved one brings with it countless questions. We speak frequently with families who express uncertainty at the thought of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. No amount of compensation can ever make up for what your family lost. Instead, the purpose of a wrongful death claim is to ease the financial stress placed on the family, allowing you to focus on recovery rather than how bills will be paid.
The costs associated with an accident leading to wrongful death can quickly accumulate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses that a family is forced to pay. This highly unjust situation leaves the at-fault party free and clear of any financial responsibility, and punishes the family grieving their lost loved one. It is our hope that no family in Montour County ever faces this situation. When we represent you, we will consider fully how your family has been impacted by the loss. Damages that your family may be eligible to recover include:
- Medical and hospital expenses incurred before the death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the income that supported your family
- Loss of the future income your loved one would have provided
- Pain and suffering
- Expenses associated with estate administration
- Emotional and psychological injury, such as PTSD
- Loss of love, support, companionship, and guidance
- Loss of consortium (loss of a close family relationship)
These damages listed above are compensatory, meaning they are intended to compensate the losses suffered by the surviving family members of the decedent. In some wrongful death cases, punitive damages may also be applied. Punitive damages are damages meant to punish the wrongful actions of the at-fault party. This type of damages is not available in every situation. They are generally only applied when particularly wanton or wrongful behaviors resulted in death. For example, when a drunk driver’s actions lead to another person’s death, there may be cause for punitive damages to be applied.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in PA?
Under Pennsylvania law, the family of a wrongful death victim may be entitled to take legal action against the at-fault party through a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal action may be taken by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate who acts on behalf of those eligible to recover compensation, including spouses, children, dependents, and other beneficiaries. Your Danville wrongful death lawyer can help you determine the personal representative who can bring the claim on your family’s behalf. If the personal representative does not file the wrongful death claim within six months of the decedent’s death, any eligible beneficiary may file the claim on behalf of all others.
Like most states, Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations law for filing a wrongful death claim. This law limits the amount of time that legal action can be taken following a wrongful death. In PA, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the decedent’s death. Any claims filed after two years will usually be dismissed by a court. If you and your family are considering filing a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one, be sure to contact a wrongful death attorney promptly to avoid missing any important deadlines.
A Danville Wrongful Death Lawyer from Stapp Law, LLC Is Available to Help
If your family is unsure how to proceed following the loss of a loved one, a Danville wrongful death lawyer from Stapp Law, LLC is available to sit down and discuss what legal options are available. If you decide to partner with our law firm, we will handle every step of the legal process with expertise, understanding, and sensitivity, allowing your family to mourn without the pressures of financial strain. To set up a free consultation with a Danville wrongful death attorney from our team, please contact our office. We will listen to your story and determine how we can best help your family recover.