After losing a loved one in an accident caused by someone else, you may be wondering if you should seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be awarded money to cover final expenses and future needs, such as children’s tuition. You may not even have to go to court if your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement with the defendant’s insurer.

Our knowledgeable wrongful death attorney at McDonald at Law understands Pennsylvania law and how the civil court system works to help those injured by others and families whose loved one was killed. Our firm knows the unique aspects of a Lancaster wrongful death case, and we can explain the advantages for you and your family.

Wrongful Death in Lancaster

Most wrongful deaths in Lancaster are based on negligence, when someone’s reckless act harms or kills another person, examples include:

  • Vehicular accidents in which the responsible party broke traffic laws, such as speeding, driving while high on drugs, or texting
  • Medical malpractice
  • Criminals who shoot or stab a person independently or while committing a crime
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Unsafe and dangerous products unleashed into the stream of commerce

Once a competent attorney with McDonald at Law establishes the unique elements of negligence and gathers evidence, negotiations for a wrongful passing settlement begin and the court becomes involved.

Two Ways to Collect Damages for an Untimely Death

When a wrongful death occurs, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action. A survival action is usually filed by the decedent’s personal representative, administrator, or executor, on behalf of beneficiaries in the decedent’s will, but if this is not done within six months of the death, a family member can file it. A well-versed lawyer at McDonald at Law could help a family with Lancaster’s unique processes of filing for survival and wrongful death actions.

Survival Action

A survival action asks for reimbursement for losses directly related to the accident. A wrongful death attorney will have asked for this information as part of gathering evidence. Loved ones of the decedent seek compensation to pay items such as hospital and medical bills related to the accident, the wages lost from the accident until the decedent’s death, and funeral expenses.

Wrongful Death Suit

Only family members directly affected by the loss of their loved one can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Instead of compensation for accident-related expenses, a wrongful death suit looks at what the family will suffer in the future without the loved one’s wages and other contributions, such as companionship and parental guidance. The court extrapolates what the family’s life would have been like if the decedent had lived and compensates on that basis.

Court’s Involvement after Reaching a Lancaster Negligent Death Settlement

After attorneys for both sides negotiate a wrongful death settlement or a jury awards one, 231 Pa. Code Rule 2206(b)(1) kicks in once either attorney requests an order from the judge. The order specifies the parties entitled to share in the settlement and how much each should get. The claimants can name guardians or let the court do it if minor children or incapacitated persons are entitled to settlements. The court can also rule some settlements should be held in trusts or paid over time.

Call a Lancaster Attorney to Learn the Nuances of a Lancaster Wrongful Death Claim

Our knowledgeable lawyers understand the unique aspects of a Lancaster wrongful death case. We aim to negotiate for the best possible settlement to help your family in the future without your cherished loved one. Reach out to McDonald at Law today, so we can tell you about your family’s options.

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