Losing a family member unexpectedly is a traumatizing experience, especially if their death was caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or illegal actions. In these situations, you and your family deserve guidance and support from an experienced attorney who can explain your options for holding the wrongdoer accountable.
Even if there’s no criminal conviction or case against the wrongdoer, a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can help you explore your options in civil court. Managing Partner Rich Godshall and the rest of the Ostroff Injury Law team will work tirelessly to help you and your family through this difficult time. We have helped families across Pennsylvania seek justice after tragic accidents, including a $21.3 million in combined verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs against the nation’s largest bus company for a single fatal crash.
Recoverable Damages After a Wrongful Death
In a typical personal injury case, the injured person (or “plaintiff”) would file the lawsuit or ask for a settlement. Any damages the plaintiff wanted to get paid for through their claim would be ones they personally suffered, like medical bills for hospital treatment and lost wages from time missed at work.
In wrongful death cases, surviving family members can instead demand compensation for their own losses. This can include:
- Lost future financial support and/or benefits—for example, health insurance—the deceased person would’ve provided for them
- Loss of help with household chores and childcare
- Lost comfort, guidance, love, and companionship
- Costs of estate administration and management
- Costs of funeral and burial/cremation services
As a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney can further explain, it’s sometimes possible to get repaid for losses the deceased person suffered between when they first got hurt and when they passed away, like bills for hospital treatment and physical pain from their injuries.
Rules for Philadelphia Wrongful Death Litigation
Wrongful death claims are generally meant to seek compensation for a deceased person’s immediate family, such as their spouse, children, and parents. However, for the first six months after someone wrongfully passes away, the only person with legal standing to file a wrongful death claim is the deceased person’s “personal representative.” This is usually someone the deceased person names in their will to manage their affairs after their death, although it can be someone appointed by the court to fill this role if necessary.
After those six months, any “beneficiary” of the decedent—in other words, anyone who’d inherit assets or property from them based on their estate planning documents—can file a wrongful death claim. No matter who starts the case, they must file no later than two years from when the decedent passed away, according to 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5524. The experienced lawyers at our firm can further explain these wrongful death laws and help bring a claim within the time limits.
Speak with a Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney About Legal Options
No one deserves to have their life cut short because someone else was reckless or careless. If you’ve lost a family member under these tragic circumstances, you deserve justice for your immense loss.
A Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer at Ostroff Injury Law will be your dedicated ally throughout every step of the legal proceedings. You will not owe us anything until we recover the compensation you and your family deserve. Give us a call today to learn more.