Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Lawyer

Decades of Experience with Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania

Our Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyers understand that losing a loved one is always difficult. But when another party’s negligent actions take away your loved one far too early, the pain is that much more difficult to process. Wrongful death litigation is designed to compensate families of the deceased for their loss, and give them the resources they need to begin putting the pieces of their lives back together.

Losing a loved one in an accident can put even the strongest of people in a vulnerable position. Not only is there the heartbreak and emotional turmoil present with all familial deaths, there are often serious questions about how the family will carry on without an important financial contributor. This is why you need a skilled Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer on your side as soon as possible following accidental death – to provide your family with space to grieve while fighting tooth and nail to secure your financial future.

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, please contact Hal Waldman & Associates online to schedule your free consultation with one of our caring Pittsburgh wrongful death attorneys.

Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania

Every wrongful death case is unique. Any dollar amount you might recover in wrongful death litigation depends on the particular circumstances of your case.

Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Act are two statutes that stipulate the kinds of damages that survivors may recover in wrongful death cases. The most important of these include:

An unusual provision of Pennsylvania law is that plaintiffs may also be awarded compensation for the conscious pain and suffering that the victim may have suffered between the time of the injury and the time of death.

In Pennsylvania, the personal representative of the deceased may bring a wrongful death case within six months of the death of the decedent. The personal representative is generally the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate. After six months, if the designated personal representative has not yet filed a claim, then any potential beneficiary may do so up to two years following the death of a loved one.

Pennsylvania law is complex, and it takes a Pittsburgh wrongful death attorney with a proven record of success to ensure that survivors receive every penny to which they are entitled.

Types of Wrongful Death

There are innumerable instances that may give rise to Pittsburgh wrongful death claims. If you lost a loved one in an accident and believe that someone else may be at fault their passing, you may have legal grounds for a wrongful death claim. There are four essential elements that inform wrongful death cases in Pennsylvania:

When these four elements exist, this lays the foundation for a wrongful death claim. Some of the most common scenarios that lead to such claims include:

Surviving family members must remember that the defendant in a wrongful death claim has bearing on various aspects of the case, especially if the defendant is a government entity or public office. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a private individual or company is very different from filing one against a public entity or government agency, and various restrictions are in place for doing so. The plaintiff filing a wrongful death claim against such an entity may face a shorter statute of limitations in which to file, may only receive limited damages, or may not be able to take legal action at all due to sovereign immunity, the legal provision that protects government entities from legal action from private citizens.

Why Do I Need an Attorney?

Many people who experience a loved one’s wrongful death wonder why they need legal representation when the cause of death appears so obvious. While it’s true some people have successfully managed their own legal claims, this is a very rare occurrence. It’s not advisable to take on any type of legal action without the support and representation from a Pittsburgh accident attorney. Simply put, the average person does not possess the legal training and experience to successfully navigate a wrongful death claim. It’s likely that anyone who attempts to do so will miss valuable avenues of compensation, or worse, may miss filing deadlines or other requirements that may lead a judge to throw the case out before it even reaches trial.

Consulting with an attorney after a wrongful death is a wise choice for several reasons. First, your attorney can advise you as to the merits of your case, and your chances of succeeding with the claim in court. If your case holds water, your attorney will advise you on your next steps for securing the damages you and your family deserve. If your attorney determines that filing a wrongful death claim is not in your best interests, or is not possible due to sovereign immunity or other legal complications, then he or she can advise you of alternative routes of compensation. Depending on the situation, this may include third party claims against other defendants in the case, insurance claims, or public assistance programs.

An attorney is an incredibly valuable asset in any Pennsylvania wrongful death claim. The right attorney will not only ensure the claim meets all of the court’s filing requirements and deadlines but also that it covers the full scope of the plaintiff’s damages.

The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act

The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act informs the procedures survivors must follow in the event of a wrongful death action. This law establishes who may file a wrongful death suit, referred to as “beneficiaries.” Under Pennsylvania law, beneficiaries include:

Of course, every family situation is different. If you were depending on the deceased financially, you may be able to collect compensation in a wrongful death suit. Anyone who wishes to file a wrongful death action, however, must first establish dependency. The exception is minor children, who are presumed dependent on the deceased. A spouse may also recover damages for loss of love and services rendered by their deceased loved one.

While these beneficiaries may recover damages, only the executor of the deceased estate may file the action itself. This administrator must do so within six months of the death of the decedent. This is a short time in which to act, so if you suspect your loved one lost his or her life due to someone else’s negligence, it’s essential to retain the services of a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

Protecting Your Future | Wrongful Death in Pittsburgh

Our wrongful death lawyers work personally with families struggling through the untimely death of a loved one. Knowing that insurance companies are often quick to offer settlements – hitting families at their most vulnerable – we take great care to protect our clients against these tactics and seek full compensation for damages including:

When working with an experienced legal team, it is possible to get compensation for these and other wrongful death damages, but only if you take action within the first two years following your loved one’s death.

Our Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyers have over five decades of combined experience helping families in Western Pennsylvania get full compensation. We would be honored to meet with you free of charge or obligation to discuss your case, your rights, and the best way to get the justice you are due. Call (412) 338-1000.