There is nothing worse than facing the sudden loss of a loved one after a fatal accident, especially if that accident was avoidable. Unfortunately, thousands of families in Pennsylvania have this unimaginable experience each year, often due entirely to another person’s reckless or careless actions.
In a situation like this, pursuing civil recovery is crucial to preserving your family’s financial security. However, this process can be difficult to navigate without a seasoned personal injury attorney. Founding Partner Jon Ostroff and his team at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers have helped numerous families seek justice after losing loved ones.
Our firm has won several high-value wrongful death cases.
- We settled a wrongful death case for $5 million, after winning a verdict. We took on the nation’s largest bus company and won this verdict for our client who was killed in this crash, which occurred while she was visiting the US from abroad.
- Our team secured a $600,000 settlement for the estate of a grandmother who was killed instantly in a car accident on a major highway.
If you lost a family member due to another person’s negligent actions, you should seek legal help right away. With support from a Quakertown wrongful death lawyer, you can seek compensation while prioritizing your family’s emotional needs.
When is a Wrongful Death Claim Warranted?
As per 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §8301, a “wrongful death” occurs when someone directly causes someone else’s death either through a “wrongful act or neglect” or “unlawful violence.” Notably, these are essentially the same causes of action that could justify a personal injury lawsuit. The crucial difference between other personal injury claims and wrongful death cases is that the person with the right to file suit does not survive their injuries in a wrongful death lawsuit.
However, just because someone does not survive an accident does not mean that their cause of civil action dies with them, nor does an at-fault party’s death absolve their estate of liability for the fatal accident. Speak with a seasoned local attorney in Quakertown and learn more about how a wrongful death case is litigated.
Laws Governing Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Quakertown
In Pennsylvania, the first party with legal standing to file a wrongful death claim is the “executor,” or personal representative, of the deceased accident victim’s estate. This is someone identified in the decedent’s will.
If the decedent didn’t have a will, this is called an “intestate” estate. PA laws related to “intestacy” will then determine who will act as the administrator of the estate. If all heirs of the estate can agree on an administrator, that person can typically be appointed to this responsibility. If all heirs can’t agree on the person who will be appointed administrator, a court can appoint someone to act as the estate administrator.
If the personal representative waits longer than six months to initiate the wrongful death case, any eligible beneficiary of the decedent’s estate—the decedent’s spouse, children, or parent(s)—may start the filing process on their own behalf. Recovery through a wrongful death claim is meant to compensate beneficiaries for losses they experienced or will experience as a direct consequence of their loved one’s premature death. A comprehensive case may incorporate losses like:
- Lost future financial support from the decedent
- Lost household services and assistance
- Funeral and burial/cremation expenses
- Estate administration costs
- Medical expenses paid by beneficiaries on behalf of the decedent before their death
- Lost consortium
- Lost companionship and guidance
Under 42 PA Con. Stat. §5524, a filing deadline of two years past the decedent’s date of death applies to most wrongful death claims. Representation from a fatal accident lawyer in Quakertown can be essential to understanding the various regulations that govern these cases.
Discuss Your Legal Options With a Quakertown Wrongful Death Attorney
Our attorneys understand that no monetary award can possibly replace the loss of a loved one. Pursuing justice is often the only way to help ensure that you and your family can overcome the financial impact of your tragic loss. Call a Quakertown wrongful death lawyer at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers and learn about your legal options.
Our consultations are always free. In fact, no fee before we recover money for you. Contact Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.