5 Things You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If someone dies due to the fault of a person or organization, that person’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the survivors such as lost wages that the deceased could have earned, mental anguish, a loss of companionship and funeral expenses. Here are some things you should know before you contact a wrongful death attorney in Pennsylvania and file a claim.
1. When Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed anytime someone dies due to the fault of another person or entity. This can include fatal accidents that are caused by a person’s negligence, someone being killed by a faulty product, and medical malpractice. People, companies and government agencies can all be at fault if they kill someone either intentionally or through their negligence. Every state in the nation has some kind of wrongful death law.
2. Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of anybody who has suffered damage from the decedent’s death. These people are called the real parties of interest and can be immediate family members such as spouses and children, distant relatives or anybody who relied on the deceased financially. In some states, the domestic partner of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim, and the parents of a deceased fetus can sue for wrongful death in certain situations.
3. Wrongful Death Suits and Criminal Trials
Wrongful death lawsuits are sometimes filed after a criminal trial. They often use the same evidence as a murder trial, but they are held to a lower standard of proof. While a person on trial for murder must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil jury can still find someone liable for the wrongful death of another person.
4. Proving Wrongful Death
In order to successfully prove wrongful death, the plaintiff must show that the death of the deceased was caused by another’s negligence or their intent to do harm. The surviving family members must also prove that they have suffered a loss as the result of the death.
5. Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Every state has a statute of limitations when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits. The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years, but it varies from one state to the next. The period typically begins when the cause of death occurred. This means that if a person was injured in an accident and later died because of their injuries, the time period begins when the initial accident occurred, not the time of death.
If you believe you are entitled to compensation due to a wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact one of the wrongful death attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White to start exploring all of your options. While there truly is no way to make up for the loss of a loved one, our attorneys will do everything they can to help your family become whole once again. Call us today to set up your free consultation, and discover what we can do to help make up for your loss.