Under Pennsylvania law, a wrongful death is said to occur when a death is caused by the “wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another.” Essentially, a wrongful death claim can arise in any event where a personal injury claim may have been brought had the deceased survived the incident. In fact, a wrongful death claim operates a lot like a personal injury claim where the victim is not able to bring his or her own claim. In a wrongful death claim, the personal representative of the deceased files the claim on behalf of the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate.
While the prospect of facing a legal battle after losing a loved one can seem like too much to handle, successful wrongful death claims can provide surviving loved ones with critical compensation for the financial and emotional losses associated with the death of a loved one. In the face of a lifetime without a loved one, compensation received from a wrongful death claim can provide financial stability that can all too easily be lost when we lose a loved one upon whom we depend for support.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
As a wrongful death claim is a civil case, the liability of the defendant in the claim is only expressed in terms of monetary damages. In criminal cases, a defendant who has been convicted faces things like imprisonment and other penalties. In civil cases, the defendant’s liability is only encapsulated in terms of monetary damage awards.
There is a range of things that can be compensated for in a wrongful death suit. There are damages that can specifically pertain to the personal representative of the estate. For instance, damages for estate administration expenses may be sought in a wrongful death claim by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This is true regardless of whether or not there is a surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. The personal representative may also seek damages to cover the costs of outstanding hospital and medical bills of the deceased, as well as funeral and burial expenses because the estate would otherwise be responsible for covering these expenses.
In the event that the deceased has a surviving spouse, or children, or parents, there are other damages available to pursue a wrongful death claim. You see, the fact that a wrongful death has occurred means that someone else’s negligence or intentional act has led to the untimely death of a loved one who may have been a source of significant emotional and financial support for his or her loved ones. Because of this, where there is a surviving spouse, children, or parents, a wrongful death claim may seek compensation for things like:
- Loss of household services
- Loss of comfort provided by the deceased
- Loss of physical comforts
- Loss of support
- Loss of moral guidance
In addition to these emotional support losses, the wrongful death claim can also seek damages stemming from the loss of financial support that came with the loss of the deceased. A damage award may include compensation for lost wages and benefits, not only for those already incurred due to the loss of the deceased but also for those wages and benefits it could have been reasonably expected for the deceased to continue to earn for the family had he or she lived
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another, let the trusted team at Cooper Schall & Levy help you and your loved ones through this difficult time. We are committed to taking on the legal burden associated with a wrongful death claim so you can focus on continuing to support each other during this trying time. Contact us today.