At Shrager & Sachs, we understand how difficult it can be to process the death of a loved one. Grief and sadness are common emotions to experience; however, when the death was caused by someone else’s negligence, confusion and anger are often added to what the family feels.
An unexpected death can also bring serious financial burdens to a family who would most likely rather focus on healing than worrying about medical bills and funeral expenses. In order to ease these burdens, our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers are prepared to help you work through the legal process to pursue compensation for the loss of your family member.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 146,571 individuals become wrongful fatality victims every year. Many of these deaths are found to be related to unintentional falls, motor vehicle accidents, and unintentional poisonings. While we may be able to explain why these deaths happen, there is never an excuse for them. It’s for that reason that our legal team is ready to help you through this difficult time.
Defining Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania
Wrongful death in Pennsylvania is defined by the General Assembly in Title 42, Chapter 83, Section 8301. As per the statute, a wrongful death is one that is caused by the neglectful or unlawful actions of another person. In the event of unlawful violence, a criminal case can be filed in conjunction with the wrongful death claim.
In general, the actions that lead to the death have to be the same type of actions that would be able to support a personal injury claim if the deceased had survived and wanted to seek compensation for their injuries. Our personal injury lawyers can explain the complexities of this law, so you understand your legal rights as a surviving family member.
Common Accidents That Lead to Wrongful Death
Accidents resulting in death can happen anywhere, at any time. The types of accidents listed below are the most common ones that lead to instances of wrongful fatalities, based on information from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Unlawful violence and self-inflicted deaths are not included on this list. If your loved one lost their life in an event similar to the ones listed below, or in an unrelated event, our legal team will be able to answer your questions and help you determine if you’re eligible for compensation.
Speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol are often influential factors in car accident fatalities. The automotive category also includes truck accidents and motorcycle wrecks– both of which come with their own unique risks.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), 1,137 people died in 2017 as a result of auto wrecks. With the proper precautions, it’s likely that many of those deaths could have been prevented. Pedestrians, especially in urban areas like Philadelphia, are also at risk for injury or death in the event of a collision.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 21.1 percent of all workplace deaths occur in the construction industry – making construction a fairly dangerous field to work in. The majority of these deaths are caused by falls, electrocutions, and objects either falling on or crushing workers. Many of these accidents are the result of violated or unclear safety standards and procedures.
While medical malpractice cases exist in their own legal sector, there are instances where family members can file a wrongful death claim in the event that they’ve lost a loved one at the hands of a healthcare professional or doctor. Many of these deaths result from communication errors, surgical mistakes, and administering improper medications. It can be confusing knowing under which area of law your case falls; however, our attorneys have years of experience with both.
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful deaths in nursing homes are typically caused by negligent staff members. There are also instances where residents die due to intentional abuse. For example, if your loved one died as a result of dehydration in their nursing home, you have the right to seek legal representation to hold the facility responsible for the death.
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have a responsibility to their customers to provide safe and effective products. When product liability comes into play with a defective product that leads to an untimely death, the legality of the matter can become incredibly complex. Many wrongful death cases involve defective medical products and medications, car seats, and chemical agents.
Understanding Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death claim must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This person will represent the survivors and beneficiaries of the estate. Your lawyer can help you determine who the personal representative should be. Most often it is someone who was named in the deceased’s will or will be appointed by the court. If the personal representative does not file the claim within six months of the death date, any of the beneficiaries may file the claim.
While a wrongful death claim looks to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one, a survival action claim tries to compensate the estate of the deceased for the losses the person suffered prior to their death. These claims focus on the suffering the individual endured after the incident, before passing. If the passing occurred immediately following the accident, the estate may be entitled to pain and suffering compensation.
Just like other states, Pennsylvania has established a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims and other injury cases. According to Statute 5524, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death. Certain events, however, can affect how the statute of limitations works. This is why it is important to speak with an attorney to confirm how much time you have to file your claim. If you fail to meet the time limit, the court is likely to throw out your case.
Reaching a Settlement with Help From a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Philadelphia
Our wrongful death lawyers can help your family recover compensation for any of the following expenses related to your claim: medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages or benefits, loss of companionship, guidance, or emotional support, grief counseling, and more. The negligent party in this type of civil case can only be held accountable in terms of monetary damages.
At Shrager & Sachs, we believe our clients deserve our compassion and justice for what they’ve been through. Let us help you find peace during this difficult time. Contact us for a confidential case review today.