A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that the spouse or family of a deceased person can make if their loved one's passing was the result of another person's wrongdoing or negligence. If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim after one of your loved ones passed away due to someone else’s irresponsible actions, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this situation.
FAQ About Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Law
What is wrongful death?
A wrongful death claim is not a criminal case but a civil lawsuit. For the case to qualify as wrongful death, the defendant must have acted negligently, carelessly, or with malicious intent. For instance, if a surgeon left a medical sponge inside of a patient while operating, resulting in a fatal infection, their actions could qualify as negligence.
Who can make a wrongful death claim?
Only the representative of the deceased's estate may make a claim. This is because any damages awarded in a successful case will be awarded to the deceased’s estate. If the deceased had a will, the executor of the will is the personal representative. If not, a loved one may volunteer as a personal representative to file on behalf of all the estate’s beneficiaries.
What types of damages are possible?
Damages might include costs to cover the deceased’s medical expenses and funeral fees. The family can seek compensation for money the deceased would have contributed to familial needs, like food and shelter, and the loss of the wages they contributed. It’s also possible to seek damages for non-monetary aspects, like loss of guidance and affection.
What does it take to win a wrongful death claim?
An attorney must prove several factors:
- They must prove that the accused had a certain duty of care to the deceased.
- They must prove that they breached that duty through their actions or negligence.
- They must prove that the accused directly caused the death of the deceased.
- In addition, the attorney must prove that the deceased’s loved ones suffered tangible loss as a result of the death.
A wrongful death lawsuit is complicated and emotionally taxing. Let Stine & Associates, P.C. of Greensburg, PA, handle your case. Cindy Stine and her team have more than 20 years of experience. They approach their clients with compassion while fighting aggressively for the justice they deserve. Visit their website for a full list of their practice areas. To meet with a lawyer, call (724) 837-0160.