Erie Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death is the worst possible outcome of someone else’s negligence. It is the death of a person from someone else’s carelessness, wrongful act, or unlawful violence according to Pennsylvania law. While nothing can make up for a loved one’s loss of life, a wrongful death lawsuit can result in compensation for the deceased person’s surviving family members’ losses. At Dallas W. Hartman P.C., we care deeply about people in Erie. We want to aid anyone in need of legal help for the wrongful death of a family member.
Wrongful Death Laws in Pennsylvania
If you believe you have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hands, there are certain legal hoops you must jump through to bring your claim in Pennsylvania. First, you must not miss the deadline to file. You have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to bring your claim with the Erie civil courts. Missing this deadline will almost certainly mean the court refusing your claim, unless an exception applies to your case. Talk to a lawyer to find out about the deadline for your specific claim.
Second, only certain people can legally file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the only party who can file such a claim. The decedent’s will might name this person, or the court can assign a personal representative during probate. The representative brings the claim to court on behalf of beneficiaries of the estate, such as a surviving spouse or children. If the personal representative does not file a claim within six months of the date of death, any beneficiary of the estate may file on behalf of all beneficiaries.
Third, you must have the elements necessary to bring a claim. These are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In general, you must have proof the party you are suing owed your loved one a duty of care at the time of death, breached this duty, and caused the death. You will need evidence against the defendant to prove your claim. Our attorneys are always ready to step in at any time to take over the claims process on your family’s behalf.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
It may feel overwhelming to think about taking legal action in the midst of losing a beloved spouse, child, parent, or other loved one. Yet legal action is exactly what your situation demands. The person or company who caused the death deserves justice, and your family deserves closure. A successful wrongful death claim can bring both. It can also result in damage recovery for losses such as:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The decedent’s medical expenses prior to death
- Lost income, benefits, and inheritance
- Loss of the decedent’s society, companionship, comfort, and support
- Loss of the decedent’s parental guidance
- Pain and suffering, such as the family’s mental anguish
Erie Wrongful Death Attorneys – Free, Private Consultations!
If someone intentionally killed your loved one or if gross negligence played a role in the death, the estate could also receive a punitive damage award. Some damages are only available if the decedent has surviving children, parents, or a spouse. Others can go to the estate. A good lawyer can prove indispensable during a complicated wrongful death claim. For help with yours in Erie, contact Dallas W. Hartman P.C.