Losing a loved one is a difficult process. Emotional pain, loss of companionship, and the financial strains of medical bills and your loved one’s lost income can be overwhelming to face on your own. When your loved one’s death was preventable, it can feel especially painful and unfair.
Fatal injuries caused by someone else’s neglect, violence, or otherwise unlawful behavior may be grounds for a wrongful death action. With an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you could hold another financially liable for the damage they caused your family. By contacting an Allentown wrongful death lawyer, you can get the help you need to lift some of those burdens off your shoulders and secure the compensation you deserve for your loss.
A person could be liable for wrongful death when they took someone’s life by acting negligently, using negligent or illegal violence, or committing an otherwise wrongful act, according to 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 8301(a).
Under 18 Pa. C.S. § 302(4), a person is responsible for negligence when they were supposed to act reasonably but did not and harmed another because they did not follow the required level of care. In vehicle collisions, driving the speed limit and watching the road are a reasonable person’s standard of care. Distracted driving that leads to a fatal accident could be a negligent cause of wrongful death.
Intentional acts of violence, per 18 Pa. C.S. § 302(1), can also cause wrongful death. A violent action, such as battery, is intentional when the person acted with the purpose of harming another or when injuring another was not their goal, but they knew their actions would likely cause the damage it did.
An attorney in Allentown could identify which cause of action applies to a specific wrongful death case.
The state restricts who may file a wrongful death suit in 42 Pa. C.S. § 8301(b). The decedent’s spouse, children, or parents are generally the only ones who can bring the wrongful death action. Regardless of who brings the lawsuit, anyone who is a legal beneficiary of the deceased, as defined in 20 Pa. C.S. § 2101, gets a portion of any awarded damages.
These family members can sue to collect present and future economic damages, such as related medical bills, funeral costs, and the loss of the decedent’s income. They can also seek noneconomic damages, such as for pain and suffering. The state does not cap damages unless the defendant is a government agency.
When the deceased does not have a spouse, children, or living parents, an estate representative may bring a wrongful death suit in their place but is limited in what they can recover. A personal representative can generally only collect costs associated with medical care, funeral expenses, and administrative costs that arise from the fatal injury, per 42 Pa. C.S. § 8301(d).
An Allentown lawyer could help beneficiaries and personal representatives improve their court outcomes in a wrongful death lawsuit.
It can be hard to think about a court case while you are grieving. However, a wrongful death lawsuit may be imperative to help you hold the responsible person accountable for causing your loss and for getting the financial compensation your family needs in the wake of the loss.
You do not have to do it alone. Call an Allentown wrongful death lawyer, and let us help you get the restitution you deserve.