It can be an extremely impactful experience anytime a family member or loved one passes away. This impact can be both emotional and financial. This is because after-death expenses can rack up a hefty bill. One way to potentially offset some of the financial costs may be to file a wrongful death claim. Individual state laws can help pay for a portion of the bill if it is determined that a specific person or organization is indeed responsible for the death of your loved one.
Wrongful Death Claims in Pennsylvania
A wrongful death case can be brought by either survivors of a deadly incident or the family of someone who has died because of the actions of another person or entity, whether negligent or intentional. State laws surrounding wrongful death cases can vary slightly, and all involve determining who is legally allowed to bring a wrongful death case to civil court. It is often the case where either a member of the deceased person’s family or that person’s legal representative is allowed to file the suit. There are also rules that govern the timeframe for someone to file a wrongful death suit, as well as the types of damages that can be reimbursed.
Categories of Damages in PA Wrongful Death Claims
Normally, categories of damages in a wrongful death case are divided into two distinct categories. These categories are often determined by specific time periods. One category allows for the repayment by those responsible for any damages incurred between the time that the accident occurred and the time that the person in question was legally deceased. This may include hospital bills or other types of recovery expenses, including pain and suffering and any lost wages the deceased may have incurred over the course of their treatment.
The other category of damages is usually defined as the loss of income or other financial benefits which the deceased person’s family relied on to live. This means that the responsible party could be legally obligated to pay the amount which was lost due to the death of the family member. The court may order the responsible party to pay up to the value of money that the deceased would have made until the age of retirement had they not been killed.
Damages Awarded in Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Cases
In a wrongful death case, it is critically important to understand the deceased person’s family and their relationships with them in order to properly determine who should be awarded damages from the responsible party. It is common for the court to award damages to the spouse who lost the love and companionship of their partner, as well as possible income which they may have depended on. The court may also award the deceased person’s parents for their trauma and pain and suffering if they lost their child. Additionally, the children of the deceased may be awarded damages for their emotional trauma and for the loss of parental guidance, if they are still minors.
A court may also order the responsible party to pay punitive damages to the deceased’s family members as a type of punishment if it is determined that their reckless or negligent behavior directly led to the death of the person in question.
Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Did you lose a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence? Then it is imperative that you speak with a qualified Philadelphia personal injury attorney who can help you file a wrongful death claim. The attorneys at the Marrone Law Firm, LLC have experience handling wrongful death cases throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and neighboring communities. Contact us by calling (866) 732-6700 or by filling out the online form.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.