The leading Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Pennsylvania wrongful death attorneys at Heavens Law Firm are committed to defending the rights of family members who lost a loved one because of somebody else’s negligence. We can help your family recover the compensation it deserves. Our firm provides superior representation to clients in Boothwyn, Philadelphia, West Chester, Media and all other areas throughout Pennsylvania.
A wrongful death action provides surviving family members a legal remedy to recover compensation when a loved one dies as a result of negligence. Like other personal injury claims, liability for wrongful death is premised on the theory that one party owes a legal duty to another. Any intentional or reckless conduct that causes injury is known as a “breach of duty” for which the negligent party is liable. In cases where the victim dies as a result of an injury or accident caused by negligence, the cause of action “survives’ the death and may be brought by eligible family members or the decedent’s estate. There are many causes of wrongful death, including:
- Car accidents and airplane accidents
- Construction accidents
- Boating, cruise ship accidents
- Spinal cord injury
- Slip-and-fall injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Dangerous drugs
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
While most of these are examples of reckless behavior, family members may also file suit where the victim died as a result of criminal or intentional conduct. Various forms of homicide and manslaughter give rise to a wrongful death claim. But while the state prosecutes criminal conduct, the civil justice system provides families with separate form of relief that compensates them for losses they will suffer as a result of the death. Their burden of proof in a wrongful death action is to show that the defendant’s intentional or negligent actions directly caused the death.
Pennsylvania wrongful death laws protect eligible family members who lose a loved one as a result of negligence. The law generally covers immediate family members, such as spouses and children. In some cases, however, the court allows other family members or dependents with a close relationship with the decedent to bring suit. The damage award is divided among eligible family members or awarded to the decedent’s estate. Even if the decedent was partly at fault for the accident, his or her “comparative negligence” may be subtracted from the award.
Surviving family members are entitled to a variety of damages in a wrongful death case. First, they may recover medical costs, funeral expenses, and damages for pain and suffering. Second, eligible claimants are entitled to lost wages caused by the decedent’s premature death. These include present and future earnings as well as projected future income from potential raises or promotions. Finally, family members are entitled to compensation associated with the loss of relationship with the deceased. These include damages for lost support, companionship, and protection. While difficult to calculate, experts can estimate the emotional and psychological loss associated with the wrongful death. Surviving family members are entitled to compensation for the loss of financial and emotional support. In cases of egregious conduct, where the defendant acted intentionally or with gross negligence, the court may also award punitive damages.
If you have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence, contact the experienced Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers at Heavens Law Firm today. We can help pursue your claim at no up-front cost to you. Immediate action is necessary because the law only provides a limited time in which to file suit. Any delay can diminish the value of your claim or bar your right to relief. At Heavens Law Firm, we understand the devastating nature of your loss and are dedicated to helping you pursue your claim with dignity and respect. Call 1-866-HEAVLAW for a confidential consultation or contact us online.