The pain of losing a loved one is never easy to deal with, especially if their death could have been prevented. If another person’s negligence leads to the untimely passing of your family member, you might have a claim for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Following the loss of a loved one, you deserve legal guidance from a compassionate personal injury lawyer. An experienced Johnstown wrongful death lawyer could guide you through the civil litigation process and help you pursue appropriate compensation for your losses.
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Statute
According to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8301, a person’s death is wrongful when it results from any of the following circumstances:
- A wrongful act
- Unlawful violence
- Negligence of another person
These claims are separate from any criminal charges that might result from the loss of life. Unlike a criminal case, a wrongful death claim can be used to pursue compensation for the final medical expenses of the deceased person, as well as the financial impact the loss has on surviving relatives. A Johnstown wrongful death attorney could help the family of a deceased person determine which monetary damages they may be eligible to seek in their case.
The Right to File a Johnstown Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In many cases, the decedent nominates a person to serve as their personal representative through their Will or estate plan. However, there are some situations in which a representative is appointed, including:
- When the decedent fails to appoint a representative
- When the person appointed to serve as a representative refuses
- When the person appointed to serve as a representative is deceased
When the Register of Wills considers a representative, there are legal guidelines that must be followed. For more information, consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
While the right to file a wrongful death case rests only with the personal representative of the estate, the representative must file the suit on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries. An individual’s right to receive compensation from the proceeds of a wrongful death case will depend on the deceased person’s Will or estate plan. In the absence of such a Will or plan, the proceeds will be distributed according to Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws.
The damages available in a wrongful death claim are similar to those in an injury lawsuit. A wrongful death lawyer in Johnstown could pursue the expenses related to the decedent’s final injury or illness, as well as damages related to the impact felt by the surviving relatives. This can include compensation for loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of mentoring and upbringing in the case of a child, and loss of financial support for those who relied on the decedent at the time of their passing.
Contact a Johnstown Wrongful Death Attorney
Following the loss of a family member, grief can override all other considerations, making it challenging to focus on litigation. When you have the help of a Johnstown wrongful death lawyer, you could leave your claim in the hands of legal professionals, allowing you to prioritize your family while your attorney handles your claim. To learn more about your legal rights, contact us at Marcus & Mack today to schedule a confidential consultation.