When someone’s negligent or wrongful act causes another person’s premature death, the effects on the decedent’s surviving family members can be devastating. While civil law cannot restore a life cut short or completely erase the emotional pain it causes, obtaining settlement compensation or a verdict can provide crucial financial support in the turbulent months and years following such a tragic incident.
If your loved one passed away because of someone else’s careless or malicious actions, a conversation with a Norristown wrongful death lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. A compassionate injury attorney can help you get the compensation your family needs for the personal, psychological, and financial losses associated with your loved one’s passing.
Eligibility to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim
Any time someone’s negligence, professional malpractice, or intentional criminal act is the direct cause of another person’s death, a wrongful death claim may be pursued. Based on the grounds that a deceased individual would have had to file a personal injury claim had they survived their injuries, their surviving family members may file suit for damages they have suffered and will suffer because of their loss.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Legal standing to file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania first goes exclusively to the decedent’s personal representative. This person may recover compensation on behalf of the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents, or on behalf of their estate. If the personal representative does not begin the litigation process within six months of the decedent’s passing, any eligible beneficiary may then file suit.
Regardless of who files the claim, 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5524 requires that wrongful death lawsuit be filed within two years of the date of the incident causing death. Failing to file within this time will result in the court considering the claim time-barred and refusing to allow it to proceed. A skilled Norristown wrongful death attorney can provide crucial assistance with collecting relevant evidence and building a comprehensive claim within this deadline.
Compensable Losses in a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death claim is intended to compensate a decedent’s beneficiaries or estate for losses sustained due to the decedent’s premature passing. These losses may be economic or non-economic in nature and a comprehensive case may incorporate both past and future damages relative to the date of filing.
Specific damages a wrongful death lawyer in Norristown can potentially factor into a settlement proposal or lawsuit include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Costs of medical care the decedent received for accident-related injuries before passing away
- Lost wages, benefits, future earnings, and other financial support the decedent would have provided
- Expenses related to estate administration
- Lost household services and support
- Lost love, comfort, guidance, and companionship from your deceased family member
In rare situations involving egregious negligence or malicious conduct, a court may impose punitive damages against a defendant in addition to any compensatory losses. Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party for their actions and deter behavior like this in the future. A seasoned attorney can provide more information about punitive damages and help you determine whether they might be an option in your wrongful death claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Norristown Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful death claims are always highly emotional and legally complex affairs, even if liability for the death in question seems obvious. Support from a qualified legal professional can be vital not just to maximizing available recovery, but also to proving someone else’s fault for a wrongful death in the first place.
To learn more about your legal options after a loved one’s premature passing, contact a compassionate Norristown wrongful death lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers. Jon Ostroff and the rest of our team are committed to making things right for you and your family, and we have a track record of success across the state for cases like these. In one previous case, we were able to recover $5 million for the estate of an individual who was killed in a Pennsylvania vehicle crash. We are ready to get to work for you– so give us a call.