What Is Wrongful Death?
Close-up of a red rose placed on a gravestone, symbolizing love and loss. The withered rose highlights tragedy and sorrow in memory of a loved one.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Losing a family member in a terrible accident caused by a negligent person or business is one of the worst things that can happen to any family. The fallout of your loss can leave you with not only an emotional burden but significant financial hurdles to overcome.

A Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer can assist your family after a catastrophic loss. Contact an attorney if you have lost someone in an accident.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought by certain surviving family members against a negligent person, business, or other entity. If the defendant’s negligence caused the death of another person, then the deceased’s family might be entitled to damages.

Wrongful death law varies based on the state. Having an experienced lawyer is the best way to protect your family’s rights after an accident.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death can occur in many types of accidents. There are certain scenarios where a wrongful death accident is more likely to occur. Some of the most common types of wrongful death claims include:

Workplace Accidents

The family of an employee killed in a workplace accident might have the right to recover compensation for a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawyer will pursue compensation from various defendants, including the business and company leadership. Depending on the circumstances, equipment manufacturers might share responsibility.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are a common cause of death across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42,715 people died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide in a recent year. A wrongful death attorney can pursue the compensation you and your family deserve after losing a loved one in a car accident.

Truck Accidents

Collisions with large commercial trucks claim thousands of lives annually. There are many causes of these accidents, and various people and entities can share responsibility for the death of your loved one.

Medical Malpractice

Feet of deceased person with blank ID tag on big toe, indicating coronavirus victim. Depressed doctor in protective gear mourns loss of patient.

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical doctor or another healthcare professional’s negligence leads to a patient’s injury or death. Potential defendants in a medical malpractice case may include doctors, nurses, other hospital staff and employees, and the facility itself.

Slip and Falls

A slip-and-fall accident is a type of premises liability case. Potential defendants in slip-and-fall cases can include property owners, businesses, and homeowners.

Elder Abuse and Neglect

Older adults are among the most vulnerable populations for accidental death, especially in negligent care facilities. Elder abuse includes any action, whether in a single instance or repeatedly, that negatively affects the care of an older person. Potential defendants in elder abuse cases are typically nursing homes or caretakers.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Only specific people can pursue a wrongful death claim under the law. Of course, the availability of a wrongful death lawsuit is determined by state law. An attorney will help you understand if you can sue after an accident.

Typically, the following surviving family members have the right to sue after a wrongful death in most states:

  • Spouse or Domestic Partner
  • Children
  • Parents

Sometimes, the personal representative of the estate must file the case on behalf of the family members.

What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The types of damages available in a wrongful death case depend on state law. Examples of common damages that families and the deceased’s estate collect can include the following:

Economic Losses

Economic losses in a wrongful death case can include damages like medical expenses and lost income. Economic damages usually reflect what the deceased could have collected had they survived the accident.

Non-Economic Losses

Non-economic damages are intangible losses the family is entitled to recover from the defendant. Since non-economic damages are subjective, they can be hard to prove without an attorney’s help.

Survival Action Damages

Survival action damages do not directly benefit the surviving family members, but the proceeds of any judgment will go to the deceased’s estate.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party. Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim but to deter the defendant from acting similarly in the future.

How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help My Family?

Wrongful death lawyer at desk with scales of justice and hammer, symbolizing legal work for justice.

Understanding your rights after a tragic loss can be confusing. A wrongful death lawyer can help your family focus on emotional recovery after a loss by helping you recover financially. An experienced professional can help you understand your rights to compensation after a significant loss.

An attorney will navigate each stage of your wrongful death claim. Your legal team can help collect relevant evidence to help prove the cause of the accident.

As the case continues, a wrongful death lawyer will handle the negotiations phase. Asserting your rights against an insurance company can be intimidating. An attorney cuts down on the anxiety that you might feel regarding settlement negotiations.

In the event that your case is not settled, it will continue to trial. Having an attorney is the best way to present your case in the best light when pursuing compensation after a wrongful death accident.

When Should I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

You should talk to a wrongful death lawyer quickly after losing a loved one in an accident. The law limits the time plaintiffs have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit varies based on state. Missing the statute of limitations can mean you lose your chance to recover compensation for your losses.

A lawyer can ensure that you meet every deadline and every other procedural rule to protect your legal right to recover compensation.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

A personal injury lawyer in Pennsylvania is on your side as you pursue compensation after your loss. The emotional turmoil of losing a loved one because of another’s negligence is only compounded by the burden of a legal battle. An attorney helps to ease that burden, taking care of the legal side of things while your family recovers.

If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident, contact an experienced attorney immediately.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!

Come And Visit Our Offices

Marcus & Mack

Marcus & Mack
57 S 6th Street,
The Mitchell House

Indiana PA   15701
1216 11th Ave
Suite 219

Altoona PA   16601
108 West Beaver Avenue,
Suite 203

State College PA  16801
334 Budfield St,

Johnstown PA  15904
12 West Long Ave.
Suite 203

DuBois PA  15801