Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving all of New Jersey and Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, if a person dies in an accident or due to the conduct of another there are two different types of claims may be brought, those being a wrongful death claim and a survival action. These claims are generally brought by a representative of the family or by the administrator of the deceased person’s estate.
There are significant differences between wrongful death claims and survival actions in Pennsylvania.
What Is a Wrongful Death Case?
In Pennsylvania, such a case potentially involves any accident in which a person is killed because of the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another person. Claims arise from many types of accidents. These can include fatal car accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, electrocutions, and assault cases. Any accident or incident in which a person is killed due to the fault of another person may create a claim.
The claim is brought for the benefit of the deceased person’s beneficiaries. Under Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Statute, a case can be brought by a personal representative on behalf of the deceased person’s beneficiaries. Often times this means that a representative can bring a suit on behalf of the deceased person’s spouse, children, or parents. (42 Pa. C.S. 8301).
The wrongful death claim is a direct claim on behalf of the family members. This differs from a survival action.
What Damages Are Recoverable In A Wrongful Death Case?
Damages are meant to compensate the spouse, children, or parents of a deceased person for pecuniary loss they have sustained as a result of the family member’s death. These damages include the value of services the loved one would have contributed for the benefit of his or her dependents. Other special damages include reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, and funeral expenses incurred by reason of the injuries that caused the death.
Money obtained through a claim is generally not subject to inheritance tax. The money is distributed according to Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws. This means that the money is distributed between the beneficiaries as if the person that died did not have a will. These beneficiaries include the spouse, children and parents of the deceased person.
This is a significant difference between a wrongful death and survival action.
What Is A Survival Action?
A survival action is a claim made on behalf of a deceased person’s estate. Survival actions seek to compensate the person that died. The person’s direct claims “survive” the person’s death and are brought on behalf of that person by the administrator of his or her estate.
What Damages Are Recoverable In A Pennsylvania Survival Action?
Pennsylvania’s survival action statute allows recovery for the pain and suffering suffered by the deceased person before that person died. Damages can also include the loss of gross earning power from the date of injury until death, and the loss of earning power, less personal maintenance expenses, from the time of the death of the victim through his or her estimated working life span.
Unlike a wrongful death action, a survival action is a direct claim by the estate and belongs to the deceased person’s estate. Any money recovered through a survival action may be subject to inheritance taxes.
Experienced Pennsylvania Wrongful Death And Survival Action Attorneys
Wrongful death and survival action cases are among the most heart-wrenching types of cases that our firm handles. John Mattiacci, John Dooley, and the Law Offices of John T. Dooley, LLC have extensive experience handling these cases, in addition to death cases across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
We represent families who have lost a loved one in an accident and fight to bring those responsible to justice. We are compassionate toward our clients and stop at nothing to pursue those who are at fault.
We have obtained multi-million dollar recoveries in many cases, but especially wrongful death and survival action cases. Attorney John Dooley served as counsel in the infamous Pier 34 disaster in Philadelphia. Our firm recently represented the estate of a man who was attacked and murdered in a bar.
If you have lost a family member or loved one in an accident, contact Philadelphia’s John Mattiacci today. John and the firm will make every effort to counsel you and your family through the tragedy and aggressively pursue the ones responsible.