According to state police, an 18-year old woman was killed in a crash on Seven Valleys Road in Codorus Township. The male driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries; however, the woman died at the scene of the accident. It was unknown why the driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed the center line, and collided with a tree.
Any time someone dies in a car accident, the family should consult with an attorney to explore if a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate, regardless of the age of the victim or the reason for the accident. The wrongful death attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP offer free consultations so families can get answers to their questions about a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Does Pennsylvania Consider A Wrongful Death?
Under Pennsylvania personal injury laws, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed "to recover damages for the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another." However, Pennsylvania law does limit who a wrongful death lawsuit may benefit - the person's spouse, children, and parents.
If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, child, or parent, the law does permit a personal representative to file a lawsuit to recover reasonable expenses including medical care, funeral expenses, and administrative expenses incurred because of the death. The spouse, child, parent, or personal representative only has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Because a wrongful death investigation can take some time, it is in the survivors' best interest to consult with a Harrisburg wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Damages in a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit depend on the facts and circumstances of the case in addition to who files the lawsuit. As discussed above, if a personal representative files the lawsuit, the damages are limited to "reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, funeral expenses and expenses of administration necessitated by reason of injuries causing death. However, if a surviving spouse, child, or parent files a wrongful death lawsuit, that person may be entitled to additional damages.
Damages available to qualified persons in a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Medical bills from the date of injury through the date of death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of financial contributions by the decedent
- Loss of services, society, and comfort
- Loss of guidance, moral upbringing, and tutelage for children of the decedent
Have You Lost A Loved One? Could That Death Have Been Avoided?
No amount of money will bring back your loved one or ease the pain you are suffering. However, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can provide the financial support you and your family need as you try to move forward with your lives. It can also bring a small measure of closure as you seek justice on behalf of your loved one.