Losing a loved one is heartbreaking and can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. However, the experience is even more tragic when the death is caused by the negligent act of another. If your loved one was wrongfully killed, you and your family may be entitled to financial compensation. While no amount of monetary damages can, unfortunately, bring your loved one back, it may be helpful to know that justice can be brought as a result of a lawsuit. In some instances, wrongful death lawsuits may prevent someone else from being seriously harmed as a result of the negligence that led to your loved one’s death.
At Youman & Caputo, we understand how difficult the aftermath of loss can be and we are here to help. Our Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys have significant experience representing Pennsylvania families after the death of a loved one and have recovered millions of dollars on their behalf. When you are ready, please, call for a free and confidential case evaluation.
The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover monetary compensation to alleviate the financial burden on the surviving family members. This is especially true if the deceased family member was primarily or solely responsible for the household income before their death. In a lawsuit, these financial losses are referred to as damages. Compensatory damages that result from wrongful deaths seek to include the full value of the life and can include: lost wages, lost companionship, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and other necessary expenses. In rare cases involving intentional acts or gross negligence, punitive damages may be awarded when the circumstances are particularly egregious. Punitive damages are monetary compensation that are designed to punish the negligent party for particularly reckless behavior.
While it may be difficult to put a financial value on the life of a loved one, this is one of the most important roles that an attorney has in wrongful death cases. Surviving family members only have one chance to seek justice for their loved one, so it is vital that the financial impact of the death is fully and accurately calculated.
According to Pennsylvania State law ch. 83, § 8301, “an action may be brought to recover damages for the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or negligent or unlawful violence or negligence of another.” The eligible beneficiaries that can bring a wrongful death claim are the deceased spouse, children, or parents. If your spouse or parent was wrongfully killed as a result of a negligent act, you may be entitled to wrongful death benefits on their behalf. The Pennsylvania lawmakers chose these select family members as the dedicated wrongful deceased representatives because these groups of people are the most financially harmed when a loved one dies.
Additionally, if there are no children or spouses of the deceased, the parents of the deceased or a personal representative (not related to the family) may file a lawsuit against the person or business that caused the wrongful death. There are specific limitations if a personal representative files a lawsuit on behalf of the wrongfully deceased according to Penn. State Law ch. 83 §8301 (b). The personal representatives are limited to recover only on the following: medical bills, funeral costs, loss of financial contributions, loss of comfort, and loss of guidance for the children of the deceased. Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney will help you to sort out who should bring the case and against who the case should be brought. The Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys at Youman & Caputo will work tirelessly to provide you with the maximum compensation for your loved one’s death.
While a fatal accident can occur in almost any setting, those that give rise to wrongful death claims often involve dangerous property conditions or negligent security, defective products, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, and construction site accidents. However, building a strong case is vital to recovering a just settlement in any wrongful death case. Depending upon the specific circumstances, there may be vastly different evidence available, such as police reports, video surveillance, eyewitness testimony, company logs or reports, medical reports and expert testimony, among many others.
Along with gathering evidence an attorney can also: deal with insurance companies, negotiate settlements, and if a fair and full settlement is not possible, then prepare for and take your case to trial in Pennsylvania State Civil Court. When you hire a wrongful death attorney on behalf of a loved one, they will work with you and guide you through these steps. Going through the legal process following a tragedy can be difficult and very stressful. Working with a lawyer from Youman & Caputo will help you reduce your stress as you focus on grieving your loved one and your attorney will focus on achieving the best possible outcome for your specific circumstances.
Wrongful death cases have strict time limits, known as the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the day of the wrongful death to bring a lawsuit against the person who caused the death. After two years, the statute of limitations expires and your claim is voided. This means that if you do not bring an action within two years, you may not bring action against the responsible party at all. However, there are specific legal circumstances that if met, lengthen the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. Wrongful death cases are complex and the stakes are very high. Therefore, it is in your best interests to hire a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after your loved one’s death. An experienced attorney can help ensure that all legal deadlines are met and that all your options remain open for gaining adequate compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Wrongful death lawsuits in Philadelphia are very complex as they have unique legal challenges that can potentially hinder a fair and reasonable settlement of wrongful death if you are not familiar. After the death of a loved one, it’s important that you seek experienced legal counsel. At Youman & Caputo, our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers understand the law involved in wrongful death claims and how to get results on behalf of our clients. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we charge no fees unless we successfully resolve your case. Call today for a free and confidential consultation. We will listen to the facts surrounding your case and explain your