After losing a loved one, adding a civil lawsuit to your plate may understandably be the last thing on your mind. However, if their passing was caused by the reckless, careless, or criminal actions of another, it is important to understand that you have legal options. Pursuing compensation from the person responsible for your loved one’s fatal injuries could be key to protecting your family’s best interests both now and years into the future.
In tragic and stressful situations like this, guidance from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can be especially important. A Bensalem wrongful death lawyer can help you effectively enforce your rights. Contact us at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers to get started.
Wrongful Death Damages in Pennsylvania
A typical personal injury case involves an injured person seeking compensation for the harm they personally suffered because of another person’s negligence. Wrongful death cases, on the other hand, involve surviving family members seeking compensation for the losses they have suffered and will suffer because of the premature loss of a loved one.
Damages in a claim like this can be economic or non-economic in nature. Specific losses that a Bensalem wrongful death attorney can work into a compensation claim include:
- Costs of funeral and burial/cremation services
- Costs related to handling the decedent’s estate
- Any hospital bills and other medical expenses a decedent had between their accident and their eventual death
- Lost financial support the decedent would have provided to family members
- Lost help around the house
- Lost comfort, companionship, and love
If a wrongful death happens because of a criminal act, a related civil claim can be filed before, during, or after the defendant’s criminal trial. On top of that, a person being acquitted or found not guilty of related criminal charges does not make it impossible to hold them civilly liable for a wrongful death. A seasoned attorney can help gather evidence that establishes a negligent party’s fault for a preventable death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
For the first six months after someone passes away because of another person’s misconduct, the only person who has the legal right to file a wrongful death claim is the decedent’s personal representative. This is usually someone nominated to fill that role in the decedent’s will, but if there is no valid will or a will does not name anyone as personal representative, a court may assign someone to fill this role.
Once six months have passed, any beneficiary (a person who could inherit property from the decedent) can file a claim on their own behalf or on behalf of all beneficiaries together. It is important to note that you have two years from the date of the fatal accident to file your claim. Failing to file within this deadline could leave you unable to recover any compensation at all, so it is best to reach out to a wrongful death lawyer in Bensalem as soon as possible.
A Bensalem Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
Filing a lawsuit after a serious accident is never simple. However, if the circumstances leading up to your claim involve the wrongful death of a family member, enforcing your rights and protecting your loved ones’ best interests can be almost impossible to manage by yourself.
Fortunately, help is available from a dedicated Bensalem wrongful death lawyer with years of experience guiding families like yours through unimaginable situations like this. Our winning team at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers has extensive experience handling wrongful death cases all over the state. In one case, Founding Partner Jon Ostroff was able to recover $500,000 for a family after their loved one was run over by a truck after falling down in a parking lot. If you have lost a family member in a situation like this, call today for a free case consultation. We are ready to get to work for you.