wrongful death

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?

Accidents can have devastating, and sometimes fatal, consequences for those involved. Did you know that if you have lost a loved one in an accident? You may be able to receive compensation pursuant to a wrongful death claim? While no amount of compensation can ever feel the void left by a loved one gone too soon, it can be very helpful for the financial burdens left on the shoulders of grieving family members after a loved one passes. Wrongful death claims, however, can be extremely complex and must be properly handled in order to be successful. There are even limitations on who can file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law defines wrongful death as a death resulting from someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. It can be helpful to think of a wrongful death claim as a personal injury suit that could have been brought by the deceased had he or she survived the accident. A wrongful death claim is a civil action to pursue damages intended to compensate grieving loved ones for the monetary losses, among other losses, incurred due to the death of a loved one.

In Pennsylvania, only the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. The personal representative files the claim on behalf of the loved ones of the decedent. There is, however, an exception to the general mandate that only the personal representative can file a wrongful death claim. If a personal representative fails to file the wrongful death claim within six months of the decedent’s date of death, then any of the estate beneficiaries may file the wrongful death claim on behalf of all of the beneficiaries.

There are a number of damages that can be pursued in a wrongful death claim. These damages can include compensation for:

  • Cost of estate administration
  • Cost of funeral and burial
  • Medical bills incurred by the deceased after the accident
  • The deceased’s pain and suffering after the accident, prior to death
  • The amount of lost wages and benefits that could have been reasonably expected of the deceased to earn had he or she survived the accident
  • Loss of companionship, moral guidance, support, and comfort

It is important to remember that compensation for certain damages, such as loss of companionship and comfort, is only available in cases where the decedent has a surviving spouse, child, or parent. Conversely, damages such as burial and funeral expenses, the cost of estate administration, and outstanding medical bills go to the estate in order to pay for the costs related to the decedent’s death. This is why personal representatives can seek these damages even when the decedent has no surviving relatives.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you lost a loved one in an accident? Let the dedicated legal team at Cooper, Schall & Levy take over the legal fight for compensation so that you and your loved ones can focus on healing after such a devastating loss. Contact us today.

medical malpractice

Common Challenges in Medical Malpractice Claims

If you have been the victim of medical negligence, you may have incurred a significant amount of physical, mental, emotional, and financial suffering. In order to recoup at least some of what you have lost, you may do so by bringing a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice claims can be very difficult to successfully pursue for a number of reasons. Here, we will discuss some of the common obstacles claimants face in medical malpractice cases.

Common Challenges in Medical Malpractice Claims

One of the major barriers to succeeding in a medical malpractice claim seems to be the fact that many people will defer to a doctor’s judgment, no matter how unfavorable the results may have been for the patient. People consider a doctor’s job to be very difficult and usually give them the benefit of the doubt in decisions regarding patient care. This is a huge obstacle to overcome in a medical malpractice claim. This is because a doctor or treating medical provider is deemed to be negligent when he or she fails to exercise the requisite level of care in treating the patient.

Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to act in a way that similarly situated and similarly located medical professionals would act under comparable circumstances. When medical professionals fail to uphold this duty, and a patient suffers as a result, a claim for medical malpractice may be substantiated. It can be difficult to prove that a doctor’s actions were a deviation from this standard of care. It will often require extensive expert testimony from other medical providers and health care experts to support the fact that the doctor or medical professional failed to treat a patient the way another medical professional would have under similar circumstances.

Another critical element that needs to be supported in order to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim is causation. It is not enough to show that a doctor was negligent. The doctor’s negligence must have been a direct cause of suffering for the patient. When a patient is already suffering from health concerns, it can be difficult to show that harm was caused by a doctor’s negligence as opposed to underlying health conditions. It can be difficult to prove that the harm suffered by the patient would not have happened even without the doctor’s negligence interfering.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Yes, medical malpractice claims can be difficult. However, they are often critical to give an injured patient an opportunity to recover the financial support necessary to pay for things like outstanding medical expenses, the cost of future medical care, and compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity. These are the fights that are worth fighting and need to be fought. In addition to getting an injured party much-needed compensation, medical malpractice claims hold health care professionals accountable for their negligence. This could help protect other patients from needlessly suffering under negligent medical care. The dedicated attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy will tirelessly pursue your medical malpractice claim. Contact us today.

X-rays showing traumatic brain injury symptoms.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Whether it be a car accident, a slip and fall, or some other accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the injuries you sustained can completely upturn your life. A traumatic brain injury is one such injury that can have serious and lasting consequences and often is the result of something such as an auto accident. There is a range in severity when diagnosing brain injuries. A more serious brain injury can result in physical damage to the brain such as bruising, bleeding and torn tissue. 

Your head does not even need to actually strike or be struck by anything to sustain a traumatic brain injury, although that is a common scenario. There does not need to be an open wound or a visible bruise to the skull for a brain injury to have been sustained. For instance, a car accident can exert such a force on a person as to cause the brain to internally strike the skull. The resulting damage to the brain is a serious consequence of such accidents and requires medical treatment as soon as possible. Unfortunately, symptoms relating to a traumatic brain injury can greatly vary and may not even appear until days or even weeks after an accident occurs.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Be familiar with the possible symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. After an accident, take care to monitor the status of you or a loved one to make sure they are not exhibiting any symptoms relating to a traumatic brain injury. Remember that symptoms often vary depending on the severity of the injury. A victim of a traumatic brain injury may show physical symptoms such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Disorientation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulties with speech
  • Weakness in fingers and toes
  • Numbness in fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Convulsions or seizures

In addition to such physical symptoms, there are potential sensory-related symptoms of a traumatic brain injury including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Altered ability to smell
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Lingering bad taste in the mouth

In addition to all of the above potential symptoms, it is important to be aware of the potential cognitive symptoms exhibited by a person who has sustained a traumatic brain injury. Such cognitive symptoms may include:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in mood
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unusual behavior
  • Agitation
  • Combativeness
  • Confusion

Again, these symptoms will not necessarily present themselves immediately after an accident. Be on the lookout for them as catching a traumatic brain injury early on can make a huge difference as far as ensuring that the injury victim receives the necessary treatment.

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys

The injuries victims in personal injury actions have endured can be, simply put, heartbreaking. To see a person suffer so due to the negligence of another is difficult, but it drives the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy to tirelessly fight for clients. Contact us today.