June 10, 2016

If one of your family members was injured — a spouse, for example — he or she may have been considering a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if negligence by an employer led to a workplace accident that severely injured your spouse, more than simple workers’ comp could be in play.

However, what can you do if your spouse passes away before the lawsuit begins? Below are a few things you must consider.

First and foremost, the cause of the death is incredibly important. If your spouse passes away due to his or her injuries, perhaps while getting care at a local hospital, you may now be able to start a wrongful death suit against the employer on the behalf of your spouse. It won’t matter that the personal injury lawsuit did not begin yet.

This can be tricky to prove in some cases. For example, your spouse could have a heart attack while in the hospital. The employer may claim that the heart attack would have happened anyway, that it was caused by years of poor diet and exercise. You may believe it was caused by the stress and trauma of the injury. Showing exactly why it happened is crucial to the case.

Even if your spouse died from an unrelated event, though, you may still be able to move forward with the personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, you can still seek compensation so that you’re not stuck with all of the medical bills, lost wages, and other costs of the accident.

These cases can be complicated, in part because the person who was injured is not there to give an account, so you really need to make sure you know every option you have in Pennsylvania.

Source: FIndLaw, “Wrongful Death FAQ,” accessed June 10, 2016