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Overview of Pennsylvania Accidental, Wrongful Death Law

A wrongful death claim is a suit that arises from the death of an individual that was caused by the conduct of another. A wrongful death suit is different from other types of personal injury claims because the actual victim (the "decedent") is not bringing suit, rather it is the family members or the decedent's estate. As such, a wrongful death claim is brought to recover damages for the injuries that the surviving family and/or estate have suffered due to the death of the victim. The damages recovered do not include damages that are personal to the decedent, since the decedent is not allowed to recover for pain and suffering, mental distress, or any other form of compensatory damages unique to him or her. The purpose of a wrongful death suit is to provide relief to family members who have been injured emotionally and financially as a result of the family member's death.

To file a wrongful death suit in Pennsylvania, you must show that the death of a person was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default, and that the act, neglect or default would have entitled the injured person to file an action to recover damages had the death not occurred. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8301. In addition, there must be surviving beneficiaries, children, or dependants of the victim 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8301, and monetary damages must have resulted from the decedent's death.

Pennsylvania law makes a distinction between persons who can file a wrongful death suit and persons who are beneficiaries. Only certain individuals can file wrongful death claims, and those that are allowed to sue do so on behalf of others. In Pennsylvania, a surviving spouse, child, parent or guardian, or personal representative of the deceased person may file a suit on behalf of the surviving spouse, children or parents. A personal representative is a person appointed by the state of Pennsylvania to represent the beneficiaries. Siblings and cousins of the decedent do not have the right to bring the lawsuit unless they have been named as guardian or personal representative of the decedent, in which case they still have no right of recovery so long as there is a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the decedent. If there is no surviving spouse, child or parent, however, siblings may file the suit on behalf of the decedent's estate and may participate in the recovery through the estate. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8301

In all matters involving Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuits it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute of limitations. If a loved one has been a victim of wrongful death in Pennsylvania, contact us now at (877) 623-7879, or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute of limitations expires.

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The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law. See Terms of Use.

The wrongful death information offered by Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawyer and contained herein, regarding Pennsylvania wrongful death statutes and Pennsylvania wrongful death claimants' rights is general in scope. No wrongful death Pennsylvania attorney client relationship with our Pennsylvania wrongful death attorneys is hereby formed nor is the negligent death information herein intended as formal legal advice. Please contact a Pennsylvania personal injury wrongful death lawyer regarding your specific inquiry.

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