A life being cut short by an avoidable accident is always a tragedy. There is no sum of money large enough to compensate the family of a deceased victim. Simply put, a family that is forever robbed of their loved one, due to the negligence or recklessness of another person or corporation can never be made whole. Still, filing a lawsuit against the person or corporation responsible for causing a fatal accident is a necessary step to protecting a decedent’s family and its financial security and personal interests.
Our legal team, led by Founding Partner Jon Ostroff and Managing Partner Rich Godshall, has successfully handled many wrongful death claims over the past 30 years. In one of our most notable cases, we won $5 million against a major bus company, for the estate of a deceased woman who was ejected from a bus after it collided with a tractor-trailer. In another case, our experienced accident attorneys recovered a $600,000 settlement for the estate of a 69-year-old grandmother just six months after a fatal motor vehicle crash on I-79, near Erie, PA.
You and your family have lost so much. Don’t let the person or company that was responsible for your loved one’s death take any more away from you. You can protect your financial future of your family at the same time by consulting our Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers.
Justice can’t wait, so act now. The sooner we can preserve invaluable evidence while it’s as fresh as possible, the better able we are to prove what happened.
Pennsylvania Laws Governing Wrongful Death Claims
A “wrongful death claim” is a type of personal injury case under Pennsylvania law. Accordingly, fatal accident claims generally stem from someone acting recklessly or carelessly and directly causing the death of another person.
Who May File a Fatal Accident Case?
When the affected person does not survive the accident in question, the right to file suit for the resulting losses passes to their estate representative or the “executor” of their estate.
This executor may be named in the deceased person’s will. If there is no will or instructions from the deceased person about their estate representative, the court can assign someone to this role. When the decedent dies without a will, this is called an “intestate” estate. Our firm will often handle securing the sure that the best executor for their situation is assigned
Who Can Recover Compensation from a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §8301, the right to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit lies with the deceased’s spouse, children, and/or parents. If none of these “beneficiaries” are alive, the estate representative may seek recovery for certain damages on the estate’s behalf. Likewise, if the estate representative does not file a claim within six months of the date the deceased person died, beneficiaries may file the claim themselves on their own behalf.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are two separate parts of a lawsuit filed on behalf of a decedent’s estate.
The “wrongful death” claim provides for the recovery of both economic and non-economic losses related to a fatality claim, which are a direct consequence of your loved one’s death, including:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of care and companionship
- Loss of consortium
The “survival” portion of a claim provides for compensation related to a decedent’s pain and suffering before they died. Whether they survive for seconds before they die, or they live for days, weeks, months, or more before succumbing to their injuries, the family can also recover for this tragic pain and suffering.
A fatal accident lawyer can also help you recover compensation for both wrongful death and survival damages.
Filing Deadlines for Fatal Accident Lawsuits
As with other kinds of personal injury lawsuits, a filing deadline applies to people who want to recover compensation through wrongful death claims. 42 PA Con. Stat. §5524 states that you have a maximum of two years after the accident to start the filing process.
There are very few and rare exceptions to this rule and missing this deadline can result in the court dismissing your case. Because of this, it is often crucial to talk with a lawyer sooner rather than later after a wrongful death occurs in Pennsylvania.
How Our Attorneys Will Support Your After a Wrongful Death
After losing a loved one in a fatal accident, you are likely dealing with financial loss and intense emotional pain. While we cannot bring back your loved one, Jon Ostroff and our team can fight for compensation to relieve some of the economic pressure you are facing. Specifically, Jon will:
- Thoroughly investigate your loved one’s death and find all of the evidence relevant to the case. He will pay for this investigation upfront and you will not be required to pay him back unless Jon recovers a settlement or verdict for your loved one’s estate.
- Deal with the insurance company and army of defense lawyers and adjusters who are hired to help defend and avoid responsibility for what their client(s) did to your loved one. Jon sincerely wants to help your family. While you are grieving, Jon is thinking about your long-term well-being with a clear head.
- Manage all medical bills, funeral expenses, bill collectors and make sure that these burdensome issues are managed for clients.
- File the appropriate paperwork in court within the required timelines to preserve your legal rights.
- Communicate with you and give you a realistic assessment of your case.
- Aggressively file and pursue your “wrongful death” and “survival” claims in a way that maximizes the chance of success for his clients. No stone will be left unturned.
Jon has helped the survivors of children and adults who were killed by someone else’s negligence in Pennsylvania. For the past 30 years, he has aggressively and successfully represented their rights. Allow Attorney Jon Ostroff to help your family after the loss of a loved one.
Speak with a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Attorney About Legal Options
Wrongful death cases are very complex legally and unwise to handle on your own. Sometimes families try to navigate these claims and they are unaware of important sources of recovery that they may not be aware of, such as layers of insurance that you’re unaware of, the corporation employing the individual at fault, or the state if highway design or defects played a role in a fatal crash, or a manufacturer if a vehicle defect played a role. Accepting a settlement from one party will often release all other parties from financial responsibility. Without quality legal representation, you may miss out on recovering the compensation owed to you and your family members.
Representation from a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer can make a world of difference when it comes to protecting your family’s best interests. Call Ostroff Injury Law today for a private consultation.