Wrongful Death Cases in Pennsylvania


Any death is difficult on surviving families and loved ones. A “wrongful death” occurs when the death was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person or entity. Negligence essentially means a person/entity had an obligation to do or not do something and they failed to act in accordance with that obligation. These types of deaths are usually the result of catastrophic car, truck, or aviation accidents or can stem from defective product use, workplace-related circumstances, or premises liability issues.

This does not mean that every time someone dies in a similar set of circumstances that there is a viable wrongful death case. For example, authorities deemed a recent fatal helicopter crash accidental, and no wrongful death charges have been filed. Many aviation and helicopter accidents can be attributed to a pilot, ground controller, manufacturing company, maintenance company, or airport’s negligence, but not in this circumstance. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will continue investigating the cause of the tragic crash.

In other cases, however, if it can be proven that the death was directly caused by a person or company’s action, or failure of action, you may have a viable claim. For example, if the FAA’s investigation revealed the helicopter lost power because a ground control member failed to conduct a proper inspection before take off, these types of accidents may lead to wrongful death claims. Sometimes a death resulting out of an accident where a driver was under the influence can give rise to such claims.

Things to Consider

The death of a loved one is an emotional time. The last thing you want to be worrying about is your finances. You may be entitled to compensation to help you through if you have a viable claim. Survivors that may be entitled to compensation include spouses, children, parents, and other close family members. The compensation may include things such as:

–       Loss of financial and economic support of the decedent;

–       Loss of consortium (love and affection);

–       Medical expenses incurred before death;

–       Estate administration expenses; and

–       Funeral expenses.

The primary rationale behind damages awards to survivors is to compensate them for their loss, and not the deceased. This means that a wrongful death lawsuit cannot produce damages for pain and suffering of the deceased.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania

If you or someone you know has been affected by a death caused by the negligence of another, you may have a viable wrongful death claim. It is important to know that these types of allegations can expire due to a statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, survivors have two years from the date of death to bring a claim, otherwise the claim may be forever barred.

Filing a lawsuit as soon as possible may increase your chances of recovery. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys at Solnick & Associates have the knowledge necessary to navigate these often complex cases. We will work hard to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to by law. We are understanding of the sensitive nature surrounding these cases and encourage you to contact our team of professionals located in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania today.

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