When an individual dies because of another party’s negligence, their surviving family members could file a wrongful death action on their behalf. These cases are sensitive and often require an in-depth investigation to identify unique fatal causes, such as whether a driver was texting while driving during a car accident. Many families are unsure how to navigate the legal system to pursue compensation.
If you lost a loved one in Altoona, Pennsylvania, our legal team at Berger and Green wants to represent you. We can have an Altoona wrongful death lawyer from our team manage your case and advocate for your right to receive financial compensation for damages. Damages may include funeral expenses and pain and suffering. The first consultation is free when you call.
How an Altoona Wrongful Death Lawyer from Our Team Can Help You
If you decide to hire an Altoona wrongful death attorney from our team, we can:
- Investigate your loved one’s fatal accident
- Collect evidence supporting your claims against the defendant
- Handle communications with the defendant, their legal representative, and their insurer
- Prepare and submit legal paperwork relevant to your case
- Negotiate a potential settlement, which may be handled outside of court
- Prepare your case for trial and provide legal representation
- Advise you on legal decisions or whenever you have questions about your case
You can learn more about our legal services during your first consultation. Should you decide to work with our personal injury team, we will assign a lawyer to you immediately and begin working on your case.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Altoona, call 412-661-1400
Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Case in Altoona, PA?
Per Pa. Rules of Civil Procedure no. 2202, the following parties may file a wrongful death action on behalf of the deceased (the decedent):
- A personal representative, referred to as the “executor,” of the decedent’s estate
- A beneficiary of the decedent (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) if the decedent’s personal representative fails to file a claim within six months of their passing
Wrongful death cases may involve negligence, medical malpractice, or intentional wrongdoing. If you are unsure whether you qualify for a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, our team will review your case and inform you of your legal options.
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What Damages Can You Receive in a Wrongful Death Case?
If you decide to pursue compensation on behalf of your late loved one, you may be able to recover the following types of damages:
- Costs for funeral arrangements: This includes costs for burial or cremation services, wake services, and transportation to the cemetery.
- Pain and suffering: This covers both physical and emotional pain. Pain and suffering damages serve as an umbrella category for various forms of pain, such as emotional distress and psychological damage.
- Income loss: If the decedent financially contributed to the family net worth, you may be able to recover their lost wages and benefits.
- Emotional losses: Other types of emotional losses that don’t fall under pain and suffering may include loss of parental guidance, companionship, and love and affection. These losses relate to the surviving family members’ relationship dynamics with the decedent, such as parent-child or spousal relations.
You may qualify for other losses not mentioned in this article. Our team will discuss the extent of your damages in future consultations after reviewing your case.
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What Does a Wrongful Death Attorney Need to Prove?
Wrongful death attorneys must prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions qualify as “negligence,” and their negligence contributed to the victim’s death. There are four key elements that lawyers must establish when building their argument, which are:
- Duty of care: The defendant had a duty to keep the decedent safe from harm. For example, a bus driver must follow traffic laws to keep passengers safe inside the bus.
- Breach of duty of care: The defendant violated their duty of care, either through their actions or failure to act. For example, a daycare worker left the front door open and failed to notice a child leave the premises.
- Causation: The lawyer must establish a connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the cause of the accident. For example, had a driver chosen to take a taxi instead of drive home, they wouldn’t have fatally hit the decedent’s vehicle.
- Damages: The decedent and their surviving family suffered damages, such as physical pain before death or funeral expenses.
For a real-world example, in 2021, the Altoona Mirrorreported on multiple wrongful death lawsuits filed against Schuylkill County and Schuylkill County Prison’s medical provider for neglecting to provide inmates adequate medical care. These lawsuits must showcase how the county was negligent, the medical provider failed to treat inmates, and these failures allegedly caused people to die. In one case, an inmate suffered heart complications despite requesting medical attention. They died a few days later.
Our team will build your argument based on the evidence we discover in your investigation. Evidence may include accident reports, photographs, video footage, and witness testimony.
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Do Wrongful Death Cases Have Deadlines in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Pa. C.S.A. § 5524 mandates that a plaintiff has about two years from the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death action. Failure to comply with this deadline could result in:
- Your case being dismissed upon submission or review
- Your case being dismissed upon request by the defendant once they discover you surpassed the statute of limitations
- Your case being barred from pursuing compensation through the civil court system
Our team will file your case within its legal timeframe. However, we encourage you to act as soon as possible if you consider taking legal action on behalf of your loved one.
Call Berger and Green to Hire Our Lawyer Serving Blair County
Processing the loss of a loved one can take time despite life trying to pull you back into reality. At Berger and Green, we understand this may be a difficult time for you, so we want to offer our legal services to manage your case while you grieve in private. By hiring an Altoona wrongful death lawyer from our firm to represent you, you won’t have to sacrifice pursuing compensation or taking the time you need to mourn.
Call Berger and Green today to receive a free case evaluation. Our attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, so we don’t charge attorney’s fees unless we win your case.
Call or text 412-661-1400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form