Experienced trial lawyers With The Resources To Handle Your Case
The national trial lawyers
Best law firms us news 2017
Super lawyers
Million dollar advocates forum
Multi million dollar advocates forum
AV preeminent martindale-hubbell lawyer ratings
Litigator awards

Wrongful death: Who can file and what damages can be claimed?

When a loved one dies unexpectedly due to fatal injuries suffered in an accident, there can be significant financial consequences along with the emotional impact this has. Such tragedies can follow pedestrian, motorcycle, car or truck accidents. However, dangerous premises or unsafe consumer products can also cause unanticipated deaths. Negligence in some form is often the cause of accidental deaths.

If your family is in the throes of such a tragedy, you might have questions about your rights to pursue financial relief. You may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim in a Pennsylvania civil court. If such action is successful, you could recover economic and non-economic damages you sustained as the result of the death.

What is the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit?

You may file a wrongful death claim if there is proof of another person’s negligence — regardless of whether the death followed intentional or accidental behavior. Also, you can file a civil lawsuit even if a criminal court found the defendant not guilty. The reason for this is the fact that a criminal court needs proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt while the civil court only requires the plaintiff to show liability based on a preponderance of the evidence.

What damages may you seek?

Plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit may typically include the surviving spouse and the children of the deceased. State laws will determine whether others, like stepchildren, parents and domestic partners, may receive damages. These laws also apply to the damages that you may claim, but the following are allowed in most states:

  • Medical expenses: If the loved one did not die instantly, you might have incurred medical expenses for treatment during the time leading up to the death.
  • End-of-life costs: If you had to cover the expenses of the arrangements for a funeral and burial, you may seek recovery of those costs.
  • Financial support: If the deceased person was your spouse, you might now face financial instability without his or her contribution to the family’s income. You may claim loss of future earnings.
  • Physical and emotional support: You and any children you may have can seek compensation for the loss of nurturing, care, affection and love along with the services your loved one provided.
  • Inheritance loss: Your children may claim that the deceased parent will not be there to accumulate assets that would have formed their inheritances had he or she not died a wrongful death.
  • Pain and suffering: This typically refers to the emotional pain and suffering of the remaining family members.

Why do you need legal counsel?

An experienced attorney cannot only explain your legal rights but also help with the establishment of negligence and determining who to name as the defendants. Furthermore, a lawyer can also help you with putting values to the damages that are difficult to quantify. Along with this, his or her support and guidance will ease the ensuing legal proceedings.

FindLaw Network

$5.5 Million

Settlement for spinal injury caused by delivery company's negligent vehicle maintenance

$5 Million

Settlement for traumatic brain injury

$1.7 Million

Recovery for premise liability spinal cord injury, in which liability was disputed.

$1.55 Million

Workers’ compensation recovery for a partial leg amputation and traumatic brain injury, in which liability was disputed.

$1.2 Million

Settlement (Liability insurance limits) for death claim arising out of tractor trailer collision

$1 Million

Settlement for closed head injury/facial fractures due to negligent construction site practices

$1 Million

Arbitration award in death claim arising out of motor vehicle collision

$1 Million

Total workers' compensation settlement for injured worker who suffered orthopedic injuries and additional GI injuries due to prescription medications.


Settlement for head injury of injured worker caused by negligent operation of equipment by a non-employer contractor on the job site.


Settlement for ankle injury due to negligent dump truck operation


Recovery for a premise liability wrongful death and survival action, in which liability was disputed.


Workers’ compensation and personal injury recovery for foot injury and toe amputations.


Settlement for bilateral wrist injuries caused by the negligent operation of a tractor-trailer.


Workers’ compensation recovery for a fatal claim, in which liability was disputed.


Settlement for statutory cap of $500,000 for wrongful death of a worker who was killed when struck by a government-owned vehicle as well as policy limit for underinsured motorist coverage.


what our clients say about us

“I would like to sincerely thank you for your efforts in resolving my personal injury case. The consistent professionalism you and your firm provided demonstrated exactly how law is suppose to be handled. You helped to change my life and I will forever be in your debt.” - Satisfied Client
“It was not an easy road for us but we knew that we had a great attorney that cared about his clients. You are a fantastic attorney.”
“Just wanted to thank you again, so very much, for the TLC given us during our unfortunate situation; so greatly appreciated the ease and smoothness of handling things – you had so much to do!”
view more