Reading Wrongful Death Lawyer
It is always hard to lose an immediate family member, and the grieving process can be even more complicated when you unexpectedly lose a loved one due to the negligent or wrongful behavior of others. Whether your loss arises from a drunk driving accident, an incident of medical malpractice, or use of a defective product, a wrongful death claim may be a legal options. A Reading wrongful death lawyer could help you explore your options and determine the best way to handle your situation.
Pennsylvania law allows specific individuals to pursue wrongful death claims against those whose careless behavior has caused the death of their loved ones. Personal representatives of the estate of the deceased, who are often immediate family members, may file wrongful death claims with the help of an attorney.
Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions
In a wrongful death case, the administrator or executor of the of the decedent’s estate files the claim on behalf of the eligible beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may include any surviving spouse, surviving children, and the parents of the deceased, to the extent that they suffered losses as a result of the wrongful death.
Aside from wrongful death actions, individuals may also be entitled to claim damages following a wrongful death through a survival action. Under 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8302, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased may be able to file a survival accident against the parties responsible for the wrongful death.
In a survival action, damages are based on the economic losses of the decedent. Had the deceased individuals been able to pursue a personal injury suit had they survived the accident that led to their death, then their cause of action “survives” and the estate administrator can continue it on behalf of the deceased.
Damages in Reading Wrongful Death Claims
The types and amounts of damages in wrongful death case can be difficult to calculate, particularly when it comes to calculating the loss of future income. Determining lost future income involves consideration of the life expectancy of the decedent, past income, and projected income. Other potential damages in a wrongful death case may include:
- Medical, hospital, and ambulance bills from before death
- Loss of affection and consortium for the surviving spouse
- Loss of guidance, love, and support for the surviving children
- Funeral and burial expenses
Damages in wrongful death suits could also include estate administration expenses, loss of financial support, loss of household services, and punitive damages in cases involving intentional or egregious actions that led to the death. While there is no limit on the amount of compensatory damages that one may receive, state law limits punitive damages awards to two times the amount of compensatory damages. A wrongful death attorney in Reading could fully evaluate individual cases for all available sources of compensation for a claim’s beneficiaries.
Consult a Reading Wrongful Death Attorney for Help
If you have lost a close family member, you may be entitled to damages through either a survival or wrongful death claim. A Reading wrongful death lawyer may be able to walk you though the legal process and fight to earn your due compensation. When you are ready, reach out to an experienced attorney.