Bethlehem Wrongful Death Attorney
In Pennsylvania — as in other states — certain surviving family members are entitled to recover wrongful death damages if their loved one has died as a consequence of the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of another. This right of recovery applies to all manner of fatal injuries, including those suffered in the medical context. For example, if your mother dies due to medical malpractice during surgery, you might be entitled to recover wrongful death damages for the losses suffered.
Wrongful death damages can be a bit confusing, at first. When most people contemplate legal damages, they consider the injury victim’s claim to damages — certainly, it seems sensible that the directly-injured party be given the opportunity to recover. Wrongful death claims are different in that they entitle those who indirectly suffer losses to recover damages.
Suppose that your spouse dies in Bethlehem as a result of a misdiagnosis by their treating physician, for example. Though you were not the direct victim, you might be entitled to recover for those damages that you suffered due to the loss of your spouse — financial support, perhaps, and loss of companionship, among other things.
A wrongful death claim is independent of a survival claim. Whereas a survival claim is an injury claim brought on behalf of your deceased loved one (to recover for the losses that they would have been entitled to claim had they lived), a wrongful death claim is meant to provide an avenue of recovery for the surviving family members, for the unique losses they suffered due to the death of their loved one.
Right to Recover
Only certain family members (and other dependents) are entitled to recover wrongful death damages, and Pennsylvania statutory law clearly designates such parties. If you do not fit into one of the qualified beneficiary categories, you may not necessarily be able to recover damages for the wrongful death of your loved one.
Pennsylvania law defines qualified beneficiaries as the surviving children, parents, and spouse of the deceased — to recover, however, these beneficiaries must prove that they have suffered financial losses as a result of their loved one’s death. If the deceased leaves no surviving qualified beneficiaries, then the court will distribute any wrongful death damages (potentially recovered in a lawsuit filed by the personal representative of the estate) to remaining family members and dependents.
Damages for Wrongful Death in Bethlehem
Wrongful death damages have no cap in Pennsylvania. You and other qualified, surviving family members who are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim may recover for a variety of losses (both financial and otherwise) including, but not necessarily limited, to:
- Medical expenses that you paid for
- Funeral expenses for the deceased
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of domestic services
- Financial support
- Emotional distress
Setup a Free Consultation With a Bethlehem Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to wrongful death damages pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Wrongful death litigation in Bethlehem and elsewhere is not always straightforward, however. As a wrongful death litigant in the medical malpractice context, you not only have to show that you are qualified (and entitled) to receive compensation, but also that the death of your loved one did in fact result from the negligence of a medical professional.
Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, is a firm with a long track record of success in litigating medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania. Our firm understands the unique difficulties presented by medical malpractice litigation (i.e., medical professionals and their insurers are aggressive defendants and have access to well-respected industry stalwarts and experts), and the emotional hurdles often associated with wrongful death litigation. We are dedicated to providing personalized, committed legal representation to our clients.
To schedule a free consultation with a Bethlehem wrongful death attorney, call (888) 777-7098 today. Our attorneys will work with you to assess your wrongful death claims and help you navigate the litigation process.