Allentown Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death claims arise when the negligent behavior of an individual or company cause an accident resulting in death. Through wrongful death claims, surviving family members may be able to attain compensation for their losses.
If careless or negligent behavior leads to the death of a loved one, you and other surviving family members may have legal recourse, so your first call in this situation should be to an Allentown wrongful death lawyer. A personal injury attorney may be in the best position to assess situations for potential wrongful death claims.
Filing Wrongful Death Claims
Under 231 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §2202, only personal representatives of the deceased individual’s estate may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of those who may receive damages as a result of the claim. The will of the deceased may name a personal representative for their estate, or the court can approve another qualified individual to administer the estate.
Personal representatives are often immediate family members of the deceased. If a personal representative has not initiated a wrongful death claim after six months, though, then any person eligible to receive damages through a wrongful death claim may bring a suit.
Qualifying beneficiaries for a wrongful death claim are limited to surviving spouses, children, or parents of the deceased who have suffered demonstrable financial damages as a result of the death. Beneficiaries who file wrongful death claims do so on behalf of themselves and any other potential beneficiaries from the claims.
Proving Negligence of Responsible Parties
Claimants in wrongful death cases must prove multiple elements of negligence in order to hold others responsible for causing the death of their loved one. First, the responsible parties must have owed the deceased a duty of care, the nature of which can differ based on the circumstances.
Plaintiffs then must establish that a party breached their duty of care by acting negligently or carelessly, and that their negligence also must have led directly to the fatal injuries the decedent suffered.
Next, claimants in a wrongful death suit must prove that they suffered actual losses as a result of the wrongful death. Finally, and typically with the help of an Allentown attorney who is familiar with wrongful death claims, surviving family members must show that they suffered current and future loss of income from the death of their loved one.
Statutes of Limitations Wrongful Death Claims
Although it is understandable to be reluctant to seek legal advice in the middle of a family tragedy, there are strict timeframes during which individuals must file wrongful death claims. Failure to meet these timeframes can result in a complete loss of the ability to seek compensation for the untimely death of a family member.
Under 42 Pennsylvania Constitutional Statutes § 5524(2), individuals must file a claim for damages within two years of the date of death. As a result, surviving family members should not hesitate to seek the advice of a wrongful death lawyer in Allentown as quickly as possible following a loved one’s fatal accident.
It should be noted that the statute of limitations differs in the case of a survival action under the Pennsylvania law. Individuals must initiate those actions within two years of the date of the fatal accident, rather than the date of death.
Call an Allentown Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never an easy process, and if the carelessness of others caused the death, your grief may be even more profound. Between the emotional, financial, and other losses you could experience as a result of the death, you may be unsure where to turn first. Fortunately, an Allentown wrongful death lawyer may be able to offer you guidance and assistance.
Wrongful death claims can be complicated, so enlisting legal help may be crucial to successfully recovering compensation for your losses. Call whenever you are ready to schedule an initial consultation and start exploring your legal options.