Brotherly Law’s Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers can explain this concept to you in greater depth in language we can all understand. But here’s an explanation of “wrongful death” in a nutshell: When you (the plaintiff) initiate a wrongful death case, you’re seeking compensation from the defendant because his or her conduct resulted in the death of the victim (almost always a spouse or very close relative).
If your loss was recent, we realize how distressing the idea of filing a lawsuit while you’re still grieving can be, but it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to at least make sure you’re within the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim.
Through the years, our attorneys have represented a number of clients in wrongful death suits. While we can’t fully understand the pain you’re suffering, clients all testify to Brotherly Law’s friendly approach and thorough customer service. We will take time to help you collect evidence and build your case in a methodical fashion and always stay in close communication throughout the legal process.
One question we hear frequently is “How is wrongful death different from murder?”
The truthful answer is a wrongful death claim can result from a murder. Case in point, if someone kills your spouse or next of kin, you can sue them for civil damages in a wrongful death suit. However, wrongful death claims cover much more than murder. If your spouse or loved one died because of someone else’s “recklessness or negligence,” that too can qualify as wrongful death. Settlements from wrongful death claims can cover lost wages, loss of “future income,” pain and suffering, and, in many cases, other financial losses that resulted from the victim’s death.
Another key point—a wrongful death claim does not involve criminal charges, the two cases are separate and one legal proceeding shouldn’t impact the other. For example, a man or woman can be tried for murder, acquitted, and then later be found guilty in a wrongful death claim brought in civil court.
Case in point. The most famous example of a successful wrongful death claim may be when, even after the former football star was acquitted in his trial for murder, the grieving family of Nicole Brown Simpson sued O.J. Simpson for damages in civil court and won. If two men get in a bar fight and one dies a few days later from injuries sustained in the altercation, his surviving spouse may have the basis for a wrongful death claim. Workplace deaths can result in wrongful death claims. If a construction worker dies because his supervisor failed to satisfy OSHA guidelines, his surviving spouse or children may have a case.
Other frequent examples include a widow who sues the drunk driver that caused the accident that resulted in her husband’s death, a widower who sues a pharmacist who prescribed the wrong medication (or the wrong dose of that medication) to his late wife, or parents who lose a child because a landlord or homeowner failed to enclose a swimming pool. Other forms of medical malpractice fall into the wrongful death category. While wrongful death statues don’t apply to unborn fetuses, if your baby is born but dies soon after because of injuries sustained prior to birth or during the delivery, it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim.
In almost any imaginable situation, a spouse can sue for the wrongful death of their husband or wife and, in many cases, children (especially minors) can sue for the wrongful death of their parents, and parents can sue for the death of their children. Wrongful death statues vary by state and Brotherly Law’s attorneys can explain Pennsylvania statutes in greater detail and determine whether they apply in your case. If you’re thinking about pursuing a wrongful death claim, but unsure of whether your circumstances would qualify, we’re here to help you bring clarity to your situation—and your initial consultation is free. So you won’t be charged for getting your questions answered.
If you’re coping with the death of a loved one and believe his or her death was caused by the recklessness, negligence or direct actions of another party or parties, the Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Brotherly Law can help. Not only is your initial consultation free, but we also take many cases on a contingency basis, meaning our legal fees are taken out of the settlement you receive when your case is closed. If visiting our offices isn’t convenient, we can schedule a meeting at your home or workplace. Call us at (215) 545-8500 or contact us online to see how we can help you.
If you have been injured due to no fault of your own, you may be able to hold the responsible party accountable for the monetary damages resulting from the accident. Fill out the form below to request a free consultation so we can evaluate your case.