Wrongful Death In Pennsylvania

April 25th, 2024

These days, car accidents in Philadelphia are far too common, and too many people are badly injured or die in crashes.

By Dean I Weitzman, Esq.


A wrongful act, a negligent act, a violent act or neglect that results in death may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania. A wrongful death may be the result of a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, poorly maintained premises or even a workplace accident.

Who May Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Pennsylvania?

The personal representative, the administrator of the estate or the executor of his or her will is the appropriate person to bring a wrongful claim on behalf of another in Pennsylvania. If a wrongful death claim is not made within six months, the spouse, children or parents of the individual who passed may bring the wrongful death lawsuit him or herself, but must do so on behalf of all who would share in any compensation recovered from the lawsuit.

Who May Recover Damages In A Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The spouse, children or parents of an individual who died because of the actions of another are allowed to recover compensation from the person who caused the death. What share, if any, each person may take of any damages recovered is determined by Pennsylvania intestacy law or a last will and testament, if one was drafted and fully executed before death. Intestacy is a legal word used to describe how property will be distributed upon death if that person did not leave behind a will or use a trust to dictate distribution.

What Damages May Be Recovered In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The Wrongful Death Act specifically allows for the recovery of medical expenses including reasonable hospital and nursing expenses, funeral expenses and estate administration after a wrongful death.

A surviving spouse may also recover compensation for the loss of:

  • Financial support
  • Services
  • Comfort
  • Society
  • Affection

Children may recover additional damages for the loss of a parent’s guidance and care in their upbringing.

What Is A Survival Action?

Wrongful death and survival cases are closely related, so closely that they overlap in some ways and are considered complementary claims. A survival claim can be made for the pain and suffering of the person who was killed by the wrongful or negligent acts of another. In Pennsylvania, surviving family members cannot recover damages twice – once under a survival action and once under a wrongful death action – for the same loss.

If you have lost a loved one because of the bad acts of another, a wrongful death attorney in your area can explain your right to compensation and the steps necessary to assert those rights against the at-fault person. Call the lawyers at MyPhillyLawyer toll free at (866) 352-4572. Free consultation.

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