Pittsburgh's Premier Personal Injury FirmFeaturing Over Four Decades of Experience
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawyers
When an Accident Fatally Injures a Loved One, You Do Not Have to Face the Future Alone.
After a loved one dies, learning to live with grief is a difficult process. Loss may also cause other complex emotions among those who were close to the deceased. When someone else’s negligence led to an accident, you may also feel angry and helpless. Being in this situation can make a person wish they could go back and make a small change to save their loved one’s life.
If you want to do something after a loved one died in an accident, you may be able to get justice through the law. Criminal charges may or may not be brought by the state; in civil court, you may be able to file your own suit for a loved one. Not only will facing the responsible party in court force them to acknowledge the terrible consequences of their actions, but also, they may have to pay restitution.
Life can change immensely after the passing of a family member. This is especially true if they were a provider for you and/or others. Asking for fair compensation can be part of creating a financial safety net as you figure out how to move forward. It can help you keep up on rent or mortgage payments; cover monthly expenses; and care for your children.
At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., our Pittsburgh wrongful death attorneys help families move forward after life-changing tragedies. The last thing any grieving person wants to deal with is a stingy insurer. We can take over the negotiations to help you get what you need, so you don’t have to argue over one of the worst events in your life.
What Is Considered a "Wrongful Death" in Pennsylvania?
To be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, your loved one's passing must have been considered "wrongful" by the law. In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of the wrongful conduct of another, whether it be through an intentional criminal act or neglect. Wrongful deaths can be a result of medical malpractice, a car accident caused by a distracted driver, a workplace accident due to unsafe work conditions, or other types of negligence.
In such cases, the deceased's family or estate may have a legal right to seek compensation from the responsible party for their loss. While nothing can undo the pain of losing someone, filing a wrongful death claim can provide financial support to help with expenses and secure justice for the victim's family.
If your loved one's passing was caused by a wrongful, criminal, or negligent act, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. To learn more about your options, call our firm today at (844) 383-0565.
Know Your Rights After a Wrongful Death
For over 40 years, we have been serving personal injury and wrongful death clients in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Our practice is built on the foundation of giving our clients a voice in the legal system and holding the negligent responsible for the damage they cause.
Recovering a settlement or judgment after a sudden and unexpected death can help you find closure by obtaining justice. It can also help you protect yourself and your family in the face of an uncertain future and against the practical and financial challenges posed by the death of a family member.
We work with clients in fatal accident cases involving:
- Car accidents
- Bus accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Workplace accidents
- Prescription drug claims
- Mesothelioma or asbestos exposure
What Does a Case Need to Qualify for a Wrongful Death Claim?
To qualify for a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim, a fatal accident must have been caused by the negligence of one or more parties. There are three points you must be able to prove:
A duty of care existed. That is, the at-fault party had a responsibility to act in a way that would not endanger others. Traffic laws, workplace regulations, and other rules may be used to make this point.
The duty of care was breached. Once you have established the duty of care, you must be able to show how another party’s actions were contrary to it.
The breach caused the death. The defendant’s negligent actions must be directly related to the fatal accident. If a car ran a red light and a construction worker turned around to watch it, then fell off scaffolding, the driver cannot be held responsible. If a car ran a red light and t-boned another car that had the right-of-way, the driver’s responsibility is easy to prove.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the ability to file a wrongful death claim is limited to specific individuals who are considered "statutory beneficiaries." The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act outlines the eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death claim.
The following individuals can file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania:
Spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased person has the primary right to file a wrongful death claim.
Children: If there is no surviving spouse, the children of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim.
Parents: If there is no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
Personal Representative: If there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, the personal representative of the deceased's estate can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate.
The right to file a wrongful death claim is exclusive to these designated individuals. Other family members, such as siblings or grandparents, do not have standing to file a wrongful death claim under Pennsylvania law.
If multiple eligible individuals exist, they may be required to file the claim together or designate one representative to pursue the claim on behalf of all beneficiaries.
What Damages Are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit may be able to receive damages including:
- Medical and funeral costs for the victim
- Loss of the victim’s income
- Loss of services the victim would have fulfilled
- Loss of care and companionship from the victim
- Loss of consortium
Our Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyers can help you figure out how much to ask for based on your relationship to the deceased. The amount you may receive can vary, so make sure you’re working with someone who has helped many other families through this hard time.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
For most wrongful death statutes in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is 2 years. Our Pittsburgh wrongful death attorneys can help you understand if your case includes any exceptions and make a plan with you to file everything on time.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
Unfortunately, wrongful death suits may not be resolved as quickly as we would like. Negotiating a fair settlement is difficult as wrongful death damages tend to be larger than those for wrongful injury. Filing a lawsuit and having it heard does take time. Finding justice may take a year, or even longer.
Experienced & Ethical Legal Counsel
Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. has been serving the Pittsburgh community for over 40 years, and our lawyers bring with them more than 150 years of experience. We are dedicated to getting results for clients. Our team works hard and can provide the compassionate help and advice you need.
We realize that no compensation can replace your loss, but your family shouldn't have to carry the financial weight of a wrongful death alongside with emotional pain. Our wrongful death attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA take on the financial burdens so you can focus on yourself and your family.
“My experience with Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. was exceptional. From the first day that I contacted them, I knew I made the right choice. Their entire team is very knowledgeable and guides you through the entire process with ease.”- Kelly Weber
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