Fatal Car Accidents and Pursuing a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Claim
Fatal car accidents may be caused by a variety of factors and lead to either a sudden death accident or an eventual death fatal accident. Throughout Pennsylvania, surviving family members or dependents of the person who passed away may face medical bills, funeral expenses, and other accident-related costs. By pursuing a wrongful death claim against the person who caused the accident, they may recover compensation for their losses.
According to Pennsylvania law, when an individual is fatally injured due to a wrongful act, intentional conduct, or negligence, there may be a legal action to recover damages. According to the statute, the “right of action,” or the ability to bring this claim, exists for the benefit of surviving spouses, children, or parents of the deceased. The law specifically states that these individuals need not reside within the Commonwealth. Additionally, if there is no person eligible to recover damages, the personal representative for the deceased can bring an action to recover damages.
While many car accidents cause traumatic injuries and extensive property damage, fatal car accidents are those that lead to the death of another driver, passenger, or pedestrian. A driver who directly or indirectly causes a fatal accident can be held legally responsible. Fatal accidents can result in civil actions, such as a wrongful death claim, as well as criminal charges, ranging from vehicular manslaughter to involuntary manslaughter and even murder. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim, separate from charges related to the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant. Financial compensation for the death of a loved one is available through a civil case, rather than a criminal proceeding.
Types of Fatal Car Accidents
Sudden death car accidents and eventual death fatal accidents are two different types of deadly vehicle collisions. In a sudden death accident, the driver or passenger who is struck dies suddenly, often due to a high speed collision or the weight of a large vehicle involved. In most cases, the impact causes catastrophic, fatal injuries.
Eventual death fatal accidents, while equally devastating, do not result in the immediate death of someone involved in the collision. Instead, the harm that is caused in the crash eventually leads to death. In other words, the accident is the cause of death, despite the fact that the person does not die immediately.
Damages Available Following a Fatal Car Accident
A successful wrongful death claim following a fatal car accident entitles the beneficiaries or personal representative to damages that are related to the accident. In addition to other damages, the wrongful death statute provides for damages for medical, hospital, nursing, and funeral expenses. Expenses related to administering the estate of the deceased may also be recovered. In a wrongful death action, the family of the decedent can also recover an amount that fairly and adequately compensates them for their loss of contributions that they would have received. These include clothing, shelter, food, medical care, and education expenses.
A skilled wrongful death attorney can help you pursue financial compensation after a fatal crash has led to the death of a family member. At Needle Law, our skilled lawyers provide personal attention and skilled legal guidance throughout all of the steps of your wrongful death claim. To set up a free consultation, call our office at (570) 344-1266 or complete our online form.