The term “wrongful death” refers to a death that occurred as a result of the negligence of some other party. Examples include fatalities caused by car accidents, negligent property owners, boating accidents, defective products, and medical errors.
These losses can be devastating, but fortunately, help is available. If you have lost a loved one in a tragic and unexpected accident, the skilled accident lawyers at KaplunMarx are ready to fight for you. Contact a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer today.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
The grieving loved ones may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the party that is responsible for the victim’s death. The purpose of this claim is to help the victim’s loved ones hold the at-fault party accountable and recover compensation for their losses. Basically, a wrongful death claim is like a personal injury claim except the victim is deceased.
What Are The Elements of Wrongful Death Cases?
There are several elements that must be proven in order to recover compensation in a wrongful death case. First, the plaintiff must prove that the at-fault party owed a duty of care to the victim.
A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a way that does not put others in danger of harm. For example, every driver on the road owes a duty of care to other drivers.
Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached this duty of care by acting in a negligent or careless manner. If a driver was operating a vehicle while intoxicated, for example, this would be a breach of the duty of care he owes to other drivers.
Proving that the defendant breached the duty of care is not enough to win compensation. A wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia can help plaintiffs with the next step, which is proving that the breach of duty directly caused the victim’s death.
If this link is not established, the plaintiff will not recover compensation for their losses. This is the key to winning compensation, so you will need an attorney’s guidance to ensure you do not make any mistakes that could affect the outcome of your case.
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Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action In PA
Two legal claims may arise following the death of a loved one: a wrongful death claim and a survival action. A wrongful death claim is designed to award the victim’s loved ones compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result of the victim’s death. For example, a child that lost his mother may be awarded compensation for his loss of love and parental guidance.
On the other hand, a survival action is designed to award compensation to the victim’s loved ones for losses the victim would have suffered if he was still alive. For instance, a survival action may compensate the victim’s family for the loss of income that the victim suffered between the date the accident occurred and the date of death. If you have lost a loved one in a tragic accident, it’s imperative to explore both of these legal options with your lawyer to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation available.
Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Civil or Criminal?
An accidental death lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal one. This means that the defendant will not face jail time or other criminal penalties at the end of the case, but he could be ordered to compensate the victim. Because it is a civil case, a wrongful death lawsuit will also not determine if the defendant is guilty of a crime.
It’s important to note that many defendants who are involved in civil wrongful death cases are also involved in criminal cases. For example, a drunk driver who kills someone may be involved in both a civil wrongful death case and a criminal DUI case as a result of his actions. If the defendant is found guilty in his criminal case, this verdict can be used to prove his negligence in the civil case.
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the only person that is allowed to file a wrongful death claim is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This can either be someone who was named in the victim’s will or another party that is appointed by the court after the victim’s death.
It’s important to note that the personal representative files the claim on behalf of the victim’s beneficiaries. In Pennsylvania, this can include the victim’s spouse, children, and parents.
If the personal representative successfully recovers compensation, it will be distributed between these beneficiaries. These beneficiaries also have the right to file the lawsuit on their own if the personal representative fails to do so within six months following the victim’s death.
How Long Does A Wrongful Death Case Take to Resolve?
The time that it takes to resolve a wrongful death case can vary depending on a number of factors. Some cases are more complex than others, which means they will usually take longer to resolve.
Another factor that affects the time it takes to resolve a case is the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the liable party is willing to negotiate, both parties may agree to settle the case outside of the courtroom within a matter of a few months.
However, sometimes the liable party is not willing to make a fair offer, so your attorney may end the negotiations and take your case to trial. It can take months and months–sometimes, even years–to reach a resolution in cases that end up in court.
How Much Are Wrongful Death Cases Worth?
The value of an accidental death claim varies on a case-by-case basis. To calculate the value of a claim an attorney will look at these factors:
- Medical bills incurred prior to the victim’s death
- Funeral expenses
- To what extent the victim financially supported his family
- The victim’s income and future earning potential
- Value of the household services the victim provided such as childcare cooking and cleaning
- Loss of love affection and guidance suffered by the family as a result of the victim’s death
Analyzing these factors can help an attorney determine the value of your loss which is the value of your claim.
How to Find A Wrongful Death Attorney in Philadelphia
There are a lot of attorneys that handle wrongful death claims in this state but its important to take the time to find the right one for your case. Ask people whom you trust such as friends family members and colleagues for recommendations. You may also want to reach out to the local bar association to see if they can provide you with a list of attorneys near you.
Conduct your own research online before contacting any of the attorneys on your short list. Make sure to read each attorneys online reviews so you can see what former clients say about their experience with each law firm. Then schedule a consultation with each attorney that is still under consideration.
This will give you an opportunity to learn more about the attorney and what to expect when working together before you make your decision. By following these steps you can find the best wrongful death lawyers in Philadelphia.
Discuss Your Case With Our Award-Winning Philadelphia Wrongful Death Law Fim Today
Have you lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence? Taking legal action may be the last thing on your mind but its important to act quickly.
Speak with an experienced Philadelphia wrongful death attorney at KaplunMarx at once. You will be represented by lawyers with vast knowledge of the law that allows us to obtain maximum compensation either by negotiating a settlement or taking your case to trial.
Our focus is getting the best results for our clients. Schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer on our team by calling or filling out the form on our website.