Stroudsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer
. Many people fail to realize that — in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, as in other cities and states — when a loved one has died due to the fault of another, then the surviving family members in certain cases may be entitled to sue and recover damages for wrongful death. In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death is considered to have occurred when someone is accidentally killed through the negligent, wrongful or unlawfully violent actions of another. The best way to learn your rights is to contact a Stroudsburg wrongful death lawyer as soon as you are emotionally ready to do so.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?
Wrongful death claims are brought by the surviving family members of the deceased. The claim for damages is based on the particular losses suffered by the survivors — not the losses suffered by the deceased. For example, the surviving spouse of the deceased may have suffered a variety of losses as a result of their spouse’s wrongful death, such as emotional distress and the loss of their spouse’s significant financial support.
Not every person who is meaningful to the deceased is entitled to recover wrongful death damages, however. Pennsylvania implements certain rules to ensure that only a limited subset of surviving family members can sue and recover damages.
A Stroudsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Also File a Survival Action on Your Behalf
Like wrongful death lawsuits, survival actions are lawsuits brought by qualified family members of the deceased to recover damages that would have been owed to the deceased had they survived. Survival actions are governed by section 8302 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, which states that all causes of action (or proceedings) will continue after the death of the plaintiff.
What does this mean, exactly?
Suppose that your father has passed away due to fatal injuries that they incurred in a motor vehicle accident. The defendant was distracted at the time of the accident, and their erratic driving caused the collision and your father’s subsequently fatal injuries. Your father did not die immediately, however. In the aftermath of the accident, there were weeks of treatment, which ultimately failed.
Now, your father would have had the right to sue and recover damages for the losses he sustained following the accident, and before they died. He would have been entitled to sue for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. Section 8302 ensures that your father’s right to recovery continues in the form of a survival action. You — a surviving family member — can therefore recover damages for the losses he directly sustained following the accident with the help of a Stroudsburg wrongful death lawyer.
Simply put, a survival action accounts for the losses directly sustained by the deceased individual. The right of recovery is granted to the surviving family members of the deceased so that they can secure damages that would have otherwise been available to the deceased individual.
By contrast, wrongful death actions allow surviving family members to recover damages for the losses they have sustained as a result of the death of their loved one.
Let’s continue with the above example. Suppose that you were very close with your father and he provided both emotional and financial support. The death of your father therefore caused you to lose access to the companionship and guidance of your father, as well as consistent financial support. A wrongful death action would entitle you to recover damages for these various losses.
The Right to Recover
Pennsylvania law gives the right of recovery to certain surviving beneficiaries: the children, parents, and spouse of the deceased. This does not require blood relation (formally adopted relatives are functionally equivalent in this respect). It’s worth noting that others may be entitled to wrongful death damages if they can demonstrate that they were sufficiently financially dependent on the deceased.
Importantly, a wrongful death claim is only actionable if the defendant engaged in negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct that caused your loved one’s death. That your loved one died is not enough to give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit — you must show that the defendant engaged in wrongful conduct that resulted in your loved one’s death.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?
What many grieving families do not realize is that Pennsylvania law places a statute of limitations on when survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most circumstances, those claims must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. Any lawsuit filed after that is considered time-barred under Pennsylvania law.
This time limit is critical because sometimes, establishing that a person was killed through a negligent or wrongful action can be more difficult than expected. For example, wrongful death accident lawsuits involving aircraft or boats may require the use of specialized experts who may take time to sort through mountains of evidence in order to reconstruct an accident. Additionally, potential witnesses who need to be interviewed may have relocated. Our Stroudsburg wrongful death attorneys will do all we can to retrieve the evidence you need — you just need to contact us.
Our Stroudsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer Explains Compensation Options
Damages that you may be entitled to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Medical expenses that you paid for the deceased
- Funeral expenses that you paid for the deceased
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium (marital relationship)
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of love and affection
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of domestic services
- And more
For example, suppose that you lose your mother to a motor vehicle accident in Stroudsburg that was caused by the defendant-driver’s negligent operation of their vehicle. You lived with your mother, who provided both financial support and domestic services to you and your family. You could sue and recover damages for the lost financial support that you are no longer being provided, as well as the value of the lost domestic services that were provided, among various other damages (i.e., lost love and affection, lost companionship, etc.).
Consult With a Qualified Stroudsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our attorneys have nearly a century of combined experience litigating wrongful death claims, personal injury claims, and medical malpractice claims, among others. We are committed to providing personalized legal advocacy, and from the beginning of the litigation process, we make ourselves available 24/7 to answer any questions our clients may have. We work tirelessly to ensure that we provide effective representation while keeping our strategic objectives aligned with those of our clients.
As litigators, our wrongful death attorneys respect and understand the role that one’s emotional state plays in the litigation process — wrongful death lawsuits are not only challenging from a legal perspective, but they are also emotionally challenging. Clients may be struggling with the grieving process while simultaneously attempting a wrongful death lawsuit. Given these difficulties, it’s important that wrongful death claimants work with attorneys who are capable of navigating litigation in a way that obtains favorable results without needlessly extending or exacerbating the hostility of the process.
Call 570-421-8119 today to connect with a Stroudsburg wrongful death lawyer here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC. Initial consultation is free, and we will assess your claims to determine whether you are entitled to recover damages for wrongful death.
We look forward to speaking with you.