A loved one’s passing is one of the most challenging and traumatic experiences in a person’s life. However, when a family member’s death results from someone else’s negligent or wrongful acts or omissions, it often makes the loss much harder to deal with. Fortunately, there are legal options available under state law to hold the at-fault parties responsible for your loss and seek compensation for any resulting damages.

No amount of compensation can bring back a loved one; however, a personal injury claim may provide a measure of justice and help prevent similar acts in the future. An Erie wrongful death lawyer could evaluate a claim and establish the necessary requirements for your case.

What is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death claim involves legal action against another party who may have caused or contributed to the death of an individual through negligent or wrongful conduct. Typically, a wrongful death claim involves compensation for the deceased’s injuries that occurred before their death and compensation for the family members’ losses due to the death of their loved one. Calculating the damages of a wrongful death can be complex and challenging, especially for the non-economic damages.

The economic costs associated with a negligent death typically include the deceased individual’s financial contributions to their family if they were still living. The non-economic costs include the support that a deceased individual provided to their spouse and family and the household duties for which they were responsible. An experienced Erie attorney understands the complexities of proving damages and could help seek out the necessary experts to establish full and fair compensation in a wrongful death claim. 

Filing a Negligent Death Case

Under state law, wrongful death cases are controlled by the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act. According to 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 8301, a personal representative of the deceased must bring the wrongful death claim. Personal representatives are typically either the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate.

Although the personal representative is required to bring the claim, the action is filed on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries, who are typically either a spouse, parent, or child, depending on the circumstances. The damages in a wrongful death case are awarded to the beneficiaries. There may also be circumstances that allow a beneficiary to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries.

Negligent death claims can be complex and often require a skilled legal professional. A dedicated Erie lawyer could determine who has the right to file a wrongful death case on behalf of a decedent’s beneficiaries.

Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Erie

State law has statutes of limitations that provide deadlines for filing cases depending on the cause of action. For a wrongful death lawsuit, state law requires the claim be brought within two years of the decedent’s passing, according to 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 5524. Due to the limited time to file a claim, it is crucial to act quickly and seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

A death from the wrongful acts of another person could require extensive investigations and testimony from experts in many fields. A knowledgeable attorney in Erie could evaluate a wrongful death claim and determine the necessary experts to present a claim.

Contact an Erie Wrongful Death Attorney Today

The passing of a loved one can turn your life completely upside-down. You may lose not only the love and support of a close significant other or parent but also the financial support that they provided and would have continued to provide in the future. With an Erie wrongful death lawyer fighting by your side, you could rest easier knowing that a dedicated legal professional is pursuing your best interests. Call today to get started with your wrongful death case evaluation.


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