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If someone you love recently passed away due to the careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct of another, we at Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George extend our deepest and most sincere condolences. We know that there is nothing more difficult than the unexpected loss of a loved one. Knowing that your family member’s death could have—and should have—been avoided can make the healing process that much more difficult.
When another person or party is responsible for the death of an individual, they can be held legally accountable for surviving family members’ financial and intangible losses. Pennsylvania law recognizes the many challenges surviving loved ones often face after the death of a spouse, parent, child, or loved one; the law allows you to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the liable party and seek financial compensation for your damages. What’s more, a successful case can provide closure and a well-deserved sense of justice for families.
What Is a “Wrongful” Death?
In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death is one that is “caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another.” A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, as opposed to a criminal case. Regardless of whether or not the person or party responsible for the death faces criminal homicide charges, and regardless of the outcome of criminal proceedings that do occur, they may be the subject of a civil wrongful death lawsuit if the plaintiff can prove that they were more likely than not to have caused the death.
Wrongful death lawsuits often arise from the following types of incidents:
- Car accidents, including drunk driving accidents and hit-and-runs
- Unsafe property conditions, hazards, and dangerous premises
- Vehicle accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians
- Falls, including slip and falls and falls from heights
- Motorcycle, truck, and other motor vehicle collisions
- Defective products, tools, equipment, and machinery
- Dangerous drugs, including pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medications
- Medical malpractice and negligence, including birth injuries
- Homicide, murder, assault, and other forms of criminal violence
- Dog bites and attacks, as well as attacks by other animals
- Workplace accidents, including construction accidents and industrial accidents
- Sports and recreation-related accidents, including ATV accidents
- Aviation accidents, including airplane crashes, helicopter crashes, and more
- Nursing home abuse and/or neglect
Essentially, any time someone else—whether it’s another person, a business, a corporate entity, or a government agency—is responsible for the death of an individual, they can be held legally liable.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of death. This means that you have just two years to bring your lawsuit; if the statute of limitations expires, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case.
It should be noted that, in Pennsylvania, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is someone who has either been named in the decedent’s will or, if the individual died without a will, someone appointed by the court. Often, but not always, the personal representative is a close family member of the decedent, such as a surviving spouse or child.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
The purpose of filing a wrongful death claim is to seek monetary recovery for certain economic and non-economic losses suffered by the decedent, the decedent’s estate, and/or the decedent’s eligible surviving family members. At Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George, we recognize that no amount of financial recovery can compensate you for your loss. However, a fair settlement or verdict can provide much-needed financial resources and allow you and your family to begin healing.
Depending on the specific details of the case, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s final care
- Funeral and/or burial-related expenses
- Costs associated with administering the decedent’s estate
- Lost income, wages, and benefits the decedent would have provided
- The value of household services, including childcare, provided by the decedent
- Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before death
- Punitive damages (in cases involving gross negligence or intentional misconduct)
- Lost guidance, support, tutelage, and companionship
Our New Castle wrongful death attorneys understand the importance of securing a full and fair settlement on your behalf. If necessary, our attorneys are fully prepared to represent you at trial. Insurance companies know that we actually try cases, and they are often more likely to settle our clients’ claims for favorable amounts to avoid going to court. In any case, you can rely on our team to be there for you every step of the way, answering any questions you may have and protecting your rights and the justice your family deserves.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney from Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George Can Help
Navigating the aftermath of your loved one’s tragic passing is difficult enough; you shouldn’t have to also deal with unexpected financial hardships and an insurance company that refuses to settle your claim for a fair amount.
When you turn to the team at LGKG, you can rest easy knowing that you are in good hands. Our attorneys will handle every detail of your case, from conducting an exhaustive investigation to gathering powerful evidence on your behalf. We can communicate with the insurance company and aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you are owed, bringing a sense of closure to you and your family.
There is no cost and no obligation in speaking to a member of our team. Should you choose to work with our firm, you do not pay any upfront attorney fees or out-of-pocket litigation costs. Instead, we only collect legal fees if/when we win your case. If we do not secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you do not pay.
We've been designated Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for over 15 years, and we have Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethics as determined by peers in the legal community.
We have been a staple in this community for over 80 years representing our friends and neighbors.
ResultsWe have recovered over $200 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
IntegrityAt LGKG, we do what we say we are going to do. Earning your trust is paramount to us, and we've been keeping our promises for over 80 years.
ExperienceOur team has over 100 years of combined legal experience.
CommitmentAt LGKG, it's not about us, it's about you.
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