May 21, 2015 - Wrongful Death

In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death occurs when someone causes the death of another person through negligent, wrongful or criminal actions. Obviously, in cases involving criminal actions prosecutors will attempt to convict the responsible party and put them behind bars. However, civil courts typically handle cases where a responsible party causes the death of another person through some manner of negligence. An airbag manufacturer whose product unintentionally kills victims after becoming damaged from excessive humidity might be a good example of this type of wrongful death.

In such an example, it may be rather straightforward to assess proper compensation for the victim’s family when it comes to the economic loss they will suffer from losing their family member. For example, an award for economic damages would likely include calculations regarding the victim’s annual income and likely potential for lifetime earnings. These are gifts and services that victim would probably contribute to his or her spouse and children.

But what about the non-economic damages of pain and suffering? Oftentimes, it’s tough for a jury to put an actual dollar amount on those types of contributions. This is especially true with pain and suffering. Perhaps a good way to conceptualize this is to consider the deceased victims relationships with individual family members. For example, a child whose parent spent every available free moment of their time with them would likely miss out on the guidance, affection and support of that victim more than the child of an absentee parent.

If you have lost a cherished family member, there are a few things you should know. A Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can help you get a better understanding of the factors a jury may consider regarding proper compensation for your pain and suffering. It’s also important to remember that although no amount of money can ever replace your loved one, a fair recovery may make it easier for you to provide for your family’s future.

Source: The Pennsylvania Code, “Rule 223.3. Conduct of the Trial. Actions for Bodily Injury or Death. Jury Instructions on Noneconomic Loss.,” accessed May. 21, 2015

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