We can assist you in a wrongful death claim so you can focus on your loved ones
If you have lost a loved one and think it might be another person’s fault, call us.
We can investigate the accident and tell you if your family has a claim which should be pursued. We can’t pretend to ease your pain, but we can help you obtain the financial compensation to cover expenses and secure your family’s future. In the process, we can also provide at least some sense of closure and help make sure that the person responsible will not hurt anyone else in the future.
Wrongful death cases are often complex. Careful investigation is required to learn the facts since the best witness is deceased. Prompt attention by a qualified attorney can make all the difference.
We have years of experience in wrongful death cases, serving clients in York, Harrisburg and Lancaster and throughout Central Pennsylvania. As always, you can count on personal attention, compassionate representation, and prompt responses to your needs.
Frequently asked questions about wrongful death cases
Under what circumstances can a death claim be made?
When a person dies as the result of the fault of someone else, a death claim can be made. Fault can include automobile negligence, medical malpractice, product failure, and dangerous premises which cause injuries leading to death.
What is a wrongful death claim?
Although most people, including lawyers, refer to the entire claim arising from a death as a wrongful death claim, Pennsylvania law actually establishes a specific claim for wrongful death which addresses damages sustained by spouses and relatives of the deceased person. This is intended to compensate these people for their loss.
How is the death claim structured?
Pennsylvania law provides for two separate types of claim, wrongful death and survival, which address different elements of the loss caused by the death and provide benefits for relatives, spouses, family members, and individuals named in the will of the deceased.
Is there a separate claim for the deceased person’s estate?
Yes. There is a second claim known as a “survival action” which can be brought for the benefit of the estate. This addresses different damages and may benefit different people than the wrongful death claim.
Can both forms of claim be made as the result of a single death?
Yes, and usually both claims are made. In this way, all of the people who are affected by the death and all forms of damages are covered.
Must an estate be opened to file a death claim?
Yes. In order to gather information, start a lawsuit, or resolve a death claim, an estate must be established and an administrator or executor must be appointed.
Must the deceased person leave a will in order to present a death claim?
No. In cases in which the deceased did not leave a will, an estate can still be opened and an administrator of the estate can be appointed.
What damages may be claimed?
In a death case, a claim can be presented for the deceased person’s medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and earnings loss. Loss of support and companionship can be claimed by the spouse and family members. Some of these damages are available as part of the wrongful death claim and others are considered part of the survival claim.
Who has the right to damages in a death case?
In the wrongful death claim, the spouse, children, and potentially other family members are entitled to damages if certain requirements are met. In the survival action, the deceased person’s estate recovers damages and these funds are then distributed either under the terms of the will or in accordance with the law which controls distribution of estate funds when no will has been left.
Are there time limits involved in filing a death claim?
Yes. The statute of limitations in wrongful death and survival actions is two years. However, investigation and preparation of the claim, as well as the establishment of an estate, should begin as soon as possible after the death occurs.
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