The death of a loved one can cause your family more than emotional pain. Unexpectedly losing a family member can have long-term ramifications on your family’s financial future, especially if your loved one was your family’s primary breadwinner. It is understandable to be worried about your future if your household depended on your loved one’s economic contribution.

If your loved one’s passing was the result of someone else’s carelessness, there are legal avenues available to you. An attorney from McDonald at Law could meet with your family to see if filing a Lancaster wrongful death action is a viable option for you. A successful resolution to a wrongful death claim could bring your family financial security after this tremendous loss.

What is a Wrongful Death Action?

A wrongful death occurs when somebody’s wrongdoing or negligence causes another person to lose their life. A wrongful death action is a civil suit that aims to hold the wrongdoer accountable for their actions that led to the decedent’s untimely passing.

If the case is successful, certain family members of the decedent could receive financial compensation from the person at fault. Compassionate Lancaster attorneys have extensive experience helping surviving family members pursue civil claims for their loved one’s unexpected passing.

Meeting the Burden of Proof in Lancaster Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death actions are similar to other civil claims in Pennsylvania. The claimant must prove that the defendant’s actions or inaction directly caused the decedent’s passing. Claimants can bring wrongful death claims when the defendant intentionally caused their loved one’s death, such as in a domestic abuse situation, as well as when the defendant unintentionally caused their loved one’s death, such as in cases of negligence or carelessness.

To prove liability for their loved one’s wrongful death, the claimant would need to prove the following four elements:

  • Duty of Care -The defendant owed the decedent a duty to exercise reasonable care and avoid foreseeable harm.
  • Breach of duty of care – The defendant was not reasonable in their treatment of the deceased person.
  • Causation – The defendant’s breach of care led to the fatal accident.
  • Damages – The decedent’s family or estate suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

Damages that could be recovered by filing a wrongful death action include the decedent’s lost wages and their surviving loved ones’ loss of companionship.

Investigating Someone’s Unexpected Passing

A skilled lawyer from McDonald at Law could help a family investigate their loved one’s death to look for causation and proof of the defendant’s liability. They may examine:

  • Police accident or criminal reports
  • Eyewitness and expert testimony
  • Accident reconstruction reports
  • Medical records
  • Coroner records from the decedent’s autopsy

Who is Eligible to File a Lancaster Wrongful Death Suit?

Unfortunately, not every person affected by a loved one’s passing can file a Lancaster wrongful death claim. In Pennsylvania, only the deceased’s personal representative can file a claim on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries. While the beneficiaries are limited to the decedent’s spouse, children, and parents, these parties can file their own claims if the estate’s personal representative does not file suit within six months of the wrongful death. A dedicated team of attorneys in Lancaster could explain how to properly file a wrongful death action.

Let an Attorney Help You File a Lancaster Wrongful Death Action

Moving on without your loved one by your side can be a challenge, especially when their life was cut short due to someone else’s negligence. If you believe someone else was responsible for your loved one’s death, you might be eligible for financial compensation.

A caring McDonald at Law attorney, who is a member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, could guide you through the process of filing a Lancaster wrongful death action. Contact the McDonald at Law office today.

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