Each wrongful death case has different circumstances, which makes it difficult to arrive at an average settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8301 addresses who may file a case, the deadline for filing, and other information. A wrongful death lawyer with our firm can help you understand your legal protection and rights if you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence or recklessness.
Factors That Affect a Wrongful Death Settlement
Even though each case comes with its own circumstances, some of the factors that affect a settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The nature and type of accident your loved one suffered
- Your loved one’s medical bills before passing
- Lost wages for the time after your loved one’s injury and before passing; additional loss of income and benefits if your loved one had lived an average life expectancy.
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering from the fatal injuries
- You and your family members’ pain and suffering
- Your mental anguish for the loss of companionship, consortium, protection, guidance, and support due to your loved one’s passing
- Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses
- Estate administration expenses
- Circumstances of the defendant’s negligence or wrongdoing that caused your loved one’s fatal injuries
Some wrongful death lawsuit settlements include punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or grossly negligent.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
You May not Have to go to Court to Recover Compensation
Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s passing, you could reach an agreement with the appropriate insurance carrier. A wrongful death lawyer with our firm can file, manage, and negotiate this claim on your behalf.
Insurance policies that may cover wrongful death include:
- The defendant’s car insurance
- The defendant’s property insurance
- The defendant’s personal injury protection (PIP)
- The defendant’s malpractice insurance
Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Pennsylvania, only the personal representative of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Surviving family members who may be named as personal representatives are:
- Adult children
Wrongful death cases are complex, particularly if there are only minor children as surviving family members.
How Long do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under state law, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you fail to adhere to this deadline, you might be barred from recovering any damages. Given enough notice, you can entrust our lawyers to file all paperwork on time.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
How to Prove Liability or Wrongdoing in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The burden of proof in a wrongful death lawsuit is based on a preponderance of evidence. In other words, it is more likely than not that the other party caused your loved one’s untimely passing. A wrongful death attorney on our team can help you navigate specific liability and negligence laws.
Proving liability or wrongdoing is based upon four elements:
- Duty of care: Establish that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care, including reasonable measures to avoid a loss of life.
- Breach of duty: Demonstrate that the defendant breached this duty of care through reckless, negligent, or unlawful behavior.
- Causation: Show how this breach caused your loved one’s demise.
- Damages: Substantiate damages that your loved one’s passing caused you to suffer.
Without proving each of these elements, your case might be declared invalid. Using our resources and available evidence, we can show all of them apply to your case.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer for My Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You might be concerned about whether or not you have the funds to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, our firm works on a contingency-fee basis. You pay nothing upfront or hourly unless and until we win a settlement for you.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
There are many circumstances in which wrongful deaths occur, including:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous or defective products, drugs, and devices
- Violent acts
- Slip and fall accidents
- Drowning and swimming pool accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Negligent security
- Exposure to toxins
You have the right to seek compensation for wrongful death damages regardless of any criminal charges that may apply to the defendant.
Get Help with Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
It is difficult to give an average settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania, but a member of our team can answer your questions.
For a free, no-obligation evaluation, connect with Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400. We don’t request any advancement on our payments and only get paid if you do.