Experiencing the sudden loss of a beloved family member can be devastating. This traumatic event can be especially challenging after learning that the death was preventable. If you are in this situation, you may be eligible to pursue legal action against the responsible party.

An unexpected death can bring more than just emotional challenges. In many cases, the sudden loss of a family member can result in financial hardship and other difficulties. While money cannot undo this loss, a wrongful death claim with help from a compassionate injury attorney from McDonald at Law could ease your financial strain following an unexpected death. Our Lancaster wrongful death lawyers could work diligently to help you recover compensation.

What is a Wrongful Death?

The definition of wrongful death is found in Pennsylvania Statutes Section 8301. Under the law, a death is wrongful if it is caused by another person’s:

  • Negligence
  • Unlawful violence
  • Wrongful act
  • Neglect

Although a wrongful death claim often involves unlawful circumstances, these are not criminal cases. Unlike a criminal charge, wrongful death lawsuits are not brought by the government and there is no risk of incarceration or criminal fines. Instead, a wrongful death action seeks monetary compensation from the at-fault party. It is not uncommon for a wrongful death claim and a criminal prosecution to both follow an unexpected death caused by another person. Our McDonald at Law wrongful death attorneys could help you understand the differences between criminal complaints and civil actions.

Wrongful Death Beneficiaries in Lancaster

The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring claims for wrongful death. Ultimately, the lawsuit is brought on behalf of the deceased person’s beneficiaries for their loss and the medical expenses incurred because of the incident.

State law identifies a limited number of potential wrongful death beneficiaries. Only surviving spouses, children, or parents have the ability to file a wrongful death claim.

Survival Actions

In addition to a wrongful death claim, state law also allows for a legal claim known as a survival action as set out in Pennsylvania Statutes Section 8302. These lawsuits are similar to wrongful death claims as they can be brought against the party responsible for a person’s death.

The difference between these claims and wrongful death cases is that survival actions seek the damages that the decedent could have pursued had they survived. Their lost wages and their pain and suffering prior to their death are examples of compensation available through these claims.

Like a wrongful death action, only the personal representative of the estate may bring this claim. Any money recovered through these claims will pass through the estate to the beneficiaries. In the end, the heirs of the estate could be the same beneficiaries as those in a wrongful death lawsuit. A Lancaster attorney experienced in wrongful death cases could advise your family regarding their expectations to recover compensation through a survival action.

A Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney in Lancaster Could Take on Your Case

If you are dealing with the loss of a family member, let experienced legal counsel take some of the stress off of your shoulders. Bringing a wrongful death lawsuit is never easy, particularly during the grieving process.

Our Lancaster wrongful death lawyers could protect your legal rights and allow you to focus on the emotional toll that comes with an unexpected death. Our lead counsel, attorney Michael P. McDonald, is recognized by Super Lawyers and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm is committed to bringing you the justice you deserve. Schedule a confidential case evaluation by calling today to learn more.

Talk to an injury lawyer for FREE
(717) 431-3093