Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Lawyer
When a negligent person or party injures another person, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages, including medical bills, lost wages from time spent away from work, pain and suffering and property damage. However, if the victim dies due to the negligent party’s actions, a surviving family member will have to file a wrongful death claim if he or she wishes to pursue financial compensation for the death. If you’re in western Pennsylvania, it’s always best to hire a Pittsburgh injury attorney to help you with the wrongful death claim process.
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Laws
Money can’t replace a lost loved one, but the unexpected death of a loved one who provided guidance, affection and financial stability to the family can have serious financial ramifications for the surviving family members. If the death happened due to negligence, the responsible parties should be accountable for the damage they caused. If you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one in the Pittsburgh area and believe negligence caused it, you should know your options and legal rights in Pennsylvania.
Wrongful death claims are unique to other forms of personal injury cases. Only certain individuals have the right to file a claim. In Pennsylvania, a representative of the deceased individual’s estate must file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries. If the estate files no such claim, any of the beneficiaries may file a claim on behalf of all the beneficiaries.
How to Succeed With Your Claim
A wrongful death claim can result in several types of compensation, and the eligible amounts will vary from case to case. Generally, the surviving family can reasonably expect to collect financial compensation for:
- Burial and funeral expenses.
- Medical expenses. These include hospital bills and treatment costs incurred from the deceased individual’s final injury or illness.
- Any court costs or other expenses related to the estate administration.
- Lost income. The court will assess how much the decedent would have reasonably been expected to earn throughout the rest of his or her working life.
- Loss of companionship. This is a difficult factor to assign a financial figure, but the court will assess the lost comforts, household contributions, guidance and support the deceased provided to the family.
- Pain and suffering. This will vary greatly by case, but the plaintiff can sue for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced after the final injury or illness until death. The plaintiff can also sue for the suffering experienced because of the untimely death.
- Loss of inheritance. If the deceased would have left a much larger inheritance for his or her family, but did not have enough time to accrue the expected amount due to his or her unexpected death, the surviving family can sue for what they could have been expected to receive from life insurance, retirement plans and other similar accounts.
Your lawyer will be an invaluable asset for navigating your wrongful death claim. In addition to determining the types of compensation you may be able to collect, your attorney will also file the appropriate motions with the courts in accordance with state laws. In Pennsylvania, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death. There are very few exceptions made for this statute of limitations.
Ronald J. Bua & Associates has handled numerous wrongful death claims as well as other personal injury lawsuits, and has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in the Pittsburgh area. The death of a loved one is a difficult experience, and if another party’s negligence or reckless disregard for others caused that death, that party must be accountable for their actions. Contact our team of knowledgeable attorneys for more information and a free consultation about whether you have a potential case under Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws.