What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?
Determining what constitutes a “wrongful death” claim is important for surviving spouses and family members. Actions that cause or contribute to the death of an individual form the basis of a wrongful death claim. Some actions are attributable to people, while in other circumstances, a company may be responsible for fatal injuries that take place when using their product.
Pennsylvania law sets forth the rule that a legal action to recover damages following the death of an individual can be brought when that death is caused by a wrongful act, negligence, or intentional conduct. The law also makes clear who can bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person and the types of damages available in a wrongful death claim.
When an accident has been caused by someone’s intentional or careless act, that person or company may be held responsible. This means that the law requires them to compensate surviving family members of the deceased person.
By law, monetary compensation relates to the losses they suffered due to the death of their family member. In an action for wrongful death, special damages include the reasonable costs of hospital care, nursing, funeral expenses, and any administrative costs stemming from the death. Monetary relief for grief and emotional distress can potentially result in large awards, since it is difficult to quantify these kinds of damages.
All of us are required to act with reasonable caution, avoiding harm to others when it is foreseeable. This means that we cannot carelessly put the lives of other people at risk. There are different scenarios in which an accidental death forms the basis of a wrongful death claim.
Every year, tens of thousands of Americans suffer fatalities in collisions involving trucks, buses, cars, and motorcycles. Not only do these accidents affect drivers and passengers, but they also cause serious harm to pedestrians and bicyclists. Some common causes of vehicle deaths include driving under the influence of alcohol, distracted driving, speeding, and aggressive driving.
Some fatalities take place on unsafe properties, while others involve falling objects and machinery malfunctions. Property owners can be held legally responsible if they were negligent or careless and failed to properly inspect and maintain their property.
All wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania must be brought within two years from the date of the death. This is the statute of limitations, and the time limits begin to apply when the claim arises, sometimes known as the “accrual” of the claim. Failing to abide by this statute of limitations may prevent the court from hearing your wrongful death claim.
At Needle Law, our attorneys offer compassionate, skilled legal guidance during the difficult period following the death of a family member. We work to investigate the cause of death, gather evidence, and pursue financial compensation for your Pennsylvania wrongful death claim. We provide a free consultation and can be reached by calling (570) 344-1266 or through our online form.