Wrongful Death Lawyers in Lancaster
A wrongful death claim is a suit that arises from the death of an individual that was caused by the conduct of another. When a loved one is wrongfully killed, it is a devastating time for the family. Not only is there the mental anguish associated with the death, but there are often medical, hospital and funeral expenses which must be addressed.
A wrongful death suit is different from other types of personal injury claims because the actual victim (the “decedent”) is not bringing the suit; rather it is the family members of the decedent’s estate. Most wrongful death claims are filed in order to recover damages for the injuries that the surviving families have suffered due to the death of the victim.
For hundreds of years, wrongful death laws did not exist in our country. Under common law, any right to a personal injury claim was lost when the injured individual passed. To correct this injustice, individual states have enacted wrongful death statutes. Haggerty & Silverman have some of the top Wrongful Death Lawyers in Lancaster, PA who specialize in Pennsylvania laws pertaining to wrongful death litigation. If you are the legal representative of the estate of a person killed in Pennsylvania then you can file a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim and sue the responsible parties. Because each state has enacted statutes independent of one another, the laws in each state vary.
Damages in wrongful death cases are intended to provide compensation for the losses resulting from the death of a family member. While some losses are speculative, such as the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death, other losses are measurable. While all damages must be proven, recoverable damages include both damages for pain and suffering, as well as:
- Direct Expenses associated with the death including medical and funeral expenses.
- Lost benefits- what the person would have received in pension/retirement benefits and the possible loss of insurance.
- Loss of future earnings- what the person who passed away would have earned in salary had he/she lived.
- Loss of companionship- the emotional care and protection that would have been provided, in addition to the mental pain and suffering resulting from the descendant’s death.
- Punitive damages- intended to punish wrongdoers and prevent them from harming others.
Our Pennsylvania Wrongful Death lawyers are here to help you in this time of need. Remember that not all attorneys have the expertise to handle wrongful death cases. As our attorneys are experienced in representing wrongful death plaintiffs throughout Pennsylvania, we can help to ensure that your rights are protected. Please contact a Lancaster, Pennsylvania based wrongful death attorney online or by phone at 888-243-4326. If you have additional questions please utilize the free information center provided by the American Justice Network.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death case?
A: Depending on the specifics of your case you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages include past and future loss of financial support, funeral and burial expenses, and the lose of household services. Non-economic damages include the loss of a loved one’s companionship, comfort and care.
Q: What is the statute of limitations on a wrongful death case?
A: In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations varies depending on the nature of the action and the status of the plaintiff and the defendant. The rule of thumb is the statute of limitations is two years.
Q: Who is entitled to be part of a wrongful death case?
A: In Pennsylvania, proper parties include a surviving spouse, children, and children of the pre-deceased children. In certain instances, stepchildren and parents may be entitled to be part of a wrongful death case.
Q: Can heirs hire separate attorneys in a wrongful death case?
A: Yes individual heirs can hire different attorneys in the same case and it happens quite often.
Q: Are punitive damages ever collected in a wrongful death case?
A: While not extremely common, punitive damages are sometimes awarded to survivors in cases in which a judge/jury want to further punish the defendant for intentional, outrageous or willful conduct.