If you have lost somebody you love due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Wrongful death claims are incredibly difficult, both on an emotional level and from a legal standpoint. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our Lancaster wrongful death attorneys are standing by to help you through this. We have the resources necessary to conduct a full investigation into what happened and help you and your family obtain the compensation and closure you deserve.
Common causes of wrongful death in Lancaster
Wrongful death cases arise anytime a person loses their life due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another individual, business, or entity. These cases can occur in a variety of ways in and around the Lancaster area. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our attorneys are regularly able to help family members who have lost loved ones due to the following:
- Car accidents
Automotive accidents are responsible for thousands of preventable deaths. In the last reporting year, more than 36,000 people were killed in traffic collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 8.5% of all fatal accidents were due to distracted drivers
- 1.9% can be attributed to drowsy driving
- Reckless driving involving speed factored into 26% of traffic deaths
- Drunk drivers were the cause of 28% of all fatal crashes
- Commercial truck accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, large truck collisions are responsible for 11% of all motor vehicle-related fatalities. Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, traffic accidents are particularly tragic. Despite specialized training and the rules and regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, negligent truck drivers claim thousands of lives every year.
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable on the road. When motorists refuse to share the road or fail to acknowledge who has the right of way, pedestrians and bike riders suffer immeasurable consequences.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association:
- 17% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities were pedestrians
- 2% of all traffic deaths involved those on bicycles
- Defective product incidents
Every year, an estimated 22,000 fatalities are the result of defective products. Some of the most common causes of product liability involve:
- Choking hazards on toys
- Tainted medicines
- Electronics that easily catch fire or explode, like an electric blanket or cell phone
- Cleaning products without adequate labels or safe-handle instructions
- Faulty medical devices
- Car malfunctions
- Industrial equipment and machinery failures
- Workplace accidents
Workplace accidents account for numerous lives lost each year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the last reporting year saw 5,333 occupational fatalities:
- Transportation accounted for 2,122 deaths
- Falls, slips, and trips claimed the lives of 880 workers
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments contributed to 642 worker fatalities
- Fires and explosions killed 99 workers
- Construction accidents
Occupations in construction often make the top of the list for most dangerous and deadly jobs. By their very nature, construction sites are hazardous. Despite safety equipment and several safety protocols, 20% of all worker deaths were in construction.
- Boating accidents
According to the Coast Guard’s annual report, the fatality rate was 5.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Of that killed:
- 79% of fatalities were due to drowning
- Alcohol was a contributing factor in 23% of boating deaths
- Distracted operation of the boat contributed to the deaths of 36 people
- 39 people were killed due in part to operator inexperience
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are responsible for the well-being of our elderly loved ones. In recent years, the prevalence of elder abuse and neglect has gained more attention, though it remains under-researched. Abuse and neglect can contribute to nursing home fatalities, especially due to the health risks and vulnerability of advanced age.
- Criminal activity or violence
Violent acts resulting in death, including intentional or unintentional murder, are often pursued criminally and civilly. The family of the victim may seek justice by holding the perpetrator or perpetrators accountable.
We do want to point out that this is not an all-inclusive list of the ways that wrongful death cases arise in Pennsylvania. If you have any questions about whether or not you may have a wrongful death case after losing a loved one, please reach out to one of our Lancaster wrongful death attorneys today.
Who can file wrongful death claims at Lancaster?
Under Title 42, Chapter 83 of the Pennsylvania General Statutes, Section 8301, we can see that Pennsylvania wrongful death claims must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
While the wrongful death claim may be filed by the personal representative, it is brought on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate. This often includes family members such as a surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents, or other dependents. Additionally, if the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate does not file a wrongful death claim within six months from the date of death, any of the beneficiaries are allowed to file a behalf of all of the other beneficiaries.
Types of compensation available for a Lancaster wrongful death claim
There may be various types of compensation available to the estate and beneficiaries of a deceased person as a result of a wrongful death claim. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our attorneys work diligently to secure both economic and non-economic damages for estates and beneficiaries. This can include the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pre-death hospital and medical bills
- Estate administration expenses
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned throughout their lifetime
- Compensation for household services, comfort, society, companionship, and other benefits the deceased would have provided throughout their lifetime
- Pain and suffering damages
What Is the Statute of Limitations in a Lancaster Wrongful Death Case?
If you have lost a loved one to negligence, it is important to know how long you are able to exercise your right to damages. In the state of Pennsylvania, a Lancaster wrongful death attorney can help you file your claim within two years of your loved one’s death.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is very strict. A Pennsylvania court will likely refuse to hear a case past 24 months. However, some special cases may qualify to be delayed. It is best to consult a wrongful death lawyer if you believe your set of circumstances is entitled to a longer time limit.
Contact a Lancaster wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible
If you have lost somebody that you love as a result of another individual’s careless, negligent, or intentional actions, please contact the team at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. today. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys will conduct a complete investigation into your case and work diligently to recover full compensation for your losses. No amount of compensation will erase what happened, but this can help bring some justice and closure to the situation. When you need a Lancaster wrongful death attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 866-597-8572.