Losing a loved one is never easy on surviving family members and friends. When the loved one’s death was preventable, the loss becomes even more unbearable. Thousands of individuals die each day as a result of someone else’s carelessness, neglect, or negligence. In legal terms, claims arising from these deaths are referred to as “wrongful deaths cases.” When a wrongful death occurs, the surviving family members often have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent parties.
At Galfand Berger LLP, we represent surviving family members whose loved ones have died as a result of:
By filing a wrongful death suit, families can obtain financial compensation for their loss and hold the negligent parties legally responsible for their actions.
Not every individual who lost a loved one can bring a wrongful death claim. State law usually requires a single personal representative of the deceased person’s estate file the claim on behalf of all of the deceased person’s beneficiaries. Beneficiaries typically include spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, or other extended family members or friends named in a will or trust document. The personal representative of the estate is typically the executor (if the deceased person died with a will) or administrator (appointed by the court) of the deceased’s estate.
No amount of money can replace the life of a loved one. While it is impossible to place a monetary value on a life, wrongful death claims do allow family members to seek compensation for their loss.
Some of the most common damages sought in wrongful death claims include:
Damages compensating for the untimely and unexpected nature of the loss (such as loss of companionship or guidance) generally are limited to surviving spouses, children, or parents.
Courts will award a minor’s or incapacitated person’s share of the damages to their guardian or legal representative. Any settlement of these damages involving a minor or incapacitated person requires approval of the Court.
Even when criminal charges have been filed as a result of the death, surviving family members may file their own civil lawsuit to obtain financial compensation for their loss. Families must file a wrongful death claim within in certain amount of time after their loved one’s death. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, wrongful death claims must be brought within two years of the incident resulting in death. There are exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations in cases where the deceased person does not pass away on the same day they or harmed, or the negligence resulting in the death has been concealed or is not immediately discoverable.
Wrongful death claims must follow certain technical requirements that may be difficult to navigate without the assistance of experienced counsel. Plaintiffs must state the basis for the wrongful death action and the last known addresses for all persons entitled by law to recover damages from the wrongful death. Notice of the action must be given to certain parties by registered mail. Failing to timely file a claim or follow the legal requirements can result in the family forfeiting their right to compensation. With the help of an experienced Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer, survivors are in a better position to bring a successful wrongful death claim.
If your loved one has died as a result of the negligence of another, the experienced Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP are ready to assist you in obtaining compensation from all responsible parties. We are dedicated to helping surviving family members throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey including those in the Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, Allentown, and Harrisburg areas. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer today, call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or submit an online inquiry form.