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What Are the Types of Wrongful Death Claims in Allentown?

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Wrongful death claims can take a variety of forms. Some of the most common occurrences that can result in a wrongful death include motor vehicle accidents, fall accidents, pedestrian accidents, and more. Each of these fatal accidents requires a unique approach when filing a wrongful death lawsuit, and working with an experienced Allentown wrongful death attorney who is familiar with Pennsylvania law is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success.

What Are the Grounds for Filing A Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful Death Claims in AllentownEvery death is a tragic loss, but not all of them are grounds for a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death lawsuits require specific circumstances and fall into a specific category of personal injury cases.

There are two types of court proceedings in the US: criminal and civil. Criminal suits occur when someone has broken the law, and the government (state or federal) wants to hold the responsible party accountable via jail time. Civil suits are different. In a civil suit, an individual files a claim against another individual or entity. There's no jail time on the table. Instead, the goal of the claimant is to pursue compensation.

Wrongful death claims are civil suits in which a personal representative of the deceased person may choose to take legal action on their behalf. To have a valid wrongful death claim, the personal representative and their wrongful death lawyer must be able to show that the death occurred as the result of someone else's negligence, recklessness, or unlawful violence. It's not necessary to show that the act was intentional, but it must be shown that the responsible party was acting negligently.

What Are the Common Types of Allentown Wrongful Death Claims?

Car Accidents

Car accidents of any kind can result in a wrongful death claim, but one of the most common subsets is accidents. Far, far too many people lose their lives in drunk driving accidents each year. In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Association, in 2021, a quarter of traffic accident fatalities were alcohol-related.

If you have lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident or a car accident of any kind, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Fall Accidents

Something like slipping and falling may seem innocuous, but in certain horrific instances, a fall can result in death. If someone falls and loses their life due to the injuries they sustain, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim if the fall occurred as a result of someone else's negligence.

Renters and property owners must ensure their premises are safe and free from hazards; if there are any hazards, they must give fair and proper warning to anyone who sets foot on their property. Failure to do so could make a renter or property owner liable in a wrongful death claim. For instance, if a business owner is washing the floors but puts up no signage to indicate areas that may be slippery, and someone slips and falls, this business owner could be at fault. And if the victim succumbs to their injuries, the business owner may find themselves on the other end of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Pedestrian Accidents

A loved one's death is always unspeakable, particularly so when their death comes as an absolute shock or occurs as the result of a freak accident. People peacefully walking on the sidewalk should never have to fear for their lives, but the devastating reality is that even pedestrians can find their lives on the line.

If a driver is exhibiting negligence of any sort (i.e., texting, speeding, unsafe lane changing, and more) and ultimately hits and kills a pedestrian, the pedestrian's family members very likely have the right to file a personal injury claim.

Medical Malpractice

When we go to the doctor or visit the hospital, we expect to receive excellent care from all the medical professionals we encounter. This is often the case, but unfortunately, there are situations where nurses and doctors fall short. In the worst case, this failure can have fatal consequences.

What exactly qualifies as medical malpractice? In general, it's when a patient is harmed or even killed due to a doctor's negligence. This can look like incorrectly diagnosing someone, making a surgical error, giving a patient the incorrect or wrong medication dosage, delaying treatment, and more. Doctors have a legal obligation to uphold a “standard of care” with every patient they treat, and if they don't meet this standard of care, they may be considered liable parties if the patient ends up injured or deceased.

In medicine, whether or not a doctor met the standard of care is typically weighed against this question: would another doctor, in the same or similar circumstances, consider this to be reasonable behavior? If not, it's very likely negligence.

How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you are the surviving spouse or family member of someone who has lost their life, and you decide to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, it's wise to confer with an Allentown wrongful death attorney. Successful wrongful death lawsuits require a great deal of legal expertise to prove that negligence did indeed occur. As a result of that negligence, wrongful death damages are owed to the victim's family.

The Four Key Elements

There are four key elements involved in proving a wrongful death lawsuit in Allentown. To recover damages, a wrongful death lawyer must be able to prove each of the following:

The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. All drivers, including pedestrians, owe a duty of care. They must drive safely and responsibly and refrain from any behavior that could put their own lives or the lives of others in danger.

The defendant breached this duty of care. Drivers breach their duty of care if they get behind the wheel drunk or drive recklessly. This endangers everyone around them and is a clear breach of their responsibility.

This breach of care caused the death. In the case of a wrongful death, the claimant's wrongful death lawyer would prove that the defendant's negligent or reckless behavior directly caused the victim's death. For instance, the defendant driving drunk caused the accident, which caused the victim to lose their life.

This death resulted in damages. Wrongful death claims are specifically about seeking damages, so the last element is to show that the victim losing their life resulted in economic and non-economic losses for the family. This might include funeral costs, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.

Why Work With A Wrongful Death Attorney in Allentown, PA?

Wrongful death cases are incredibly complex, not to mention overwhelming, for someone who's still grieving. Hiring one of our experienced Allentown wrongful death lawyers to fight the insurance company allows you to focus on your family while we navigate every element of the legal process and ultimately seek justice and a fair settlement. Don't hesitate to contact our law offices for a free consultation.

What's the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action?

Wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions are personal injury cases, but they have key differences. A wrongful death lawsuit focuses on the losses experienced by the deceased person's surviving family members. The lawsuit looks at how they've suffered, from an ongoing loss of income to funeral expenses, and compensates the family members for these things.

A survival claim, on the other hand, focuses on the losses experienced by the deceased person. This kind of claim is mostly utilized in cases where a person sustains ultimately fatal injuries but survives them for some time before passing away. In a case like this, the deceased person likely incurred medical expenses before they passed and possibly sustained lost wages as they attempted to recover. A survival action is intended to compensate for these losses.

What Are Wrongful Death Damages?

A wide variety of damages can be won in wrongful death cases. Economic damages account for measurable losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, funeral costs, etc. Non-economic damages account for more abstract losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. Your wrongful death lawyers will review your case in great detail to ensure every loss is fairly accounted for and will use this information to seek a fair settlement.

In some cases, a third category of damages may come into play. While economic and non-economic damages are intended to compensate the victim's family for their losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and dissuade them and others from exhibiting similarly negligent, reckless, or violent behavior in the future. These are only ordered in select cases.

Contact Our Allentown Wrongful Death Attorneys

Working with one of our Allentown wrongful death attorneys is the best way to set yourself up for a successful claim.

No one understands family better than we do. Our law offices are a family business, and we know that losing a family member is one of the most challenging and heartbreaking things anyone can endure. If you find yourself in the aftermath of a loss, the last thing you want to worry about is navigating the legal complexities of filing a death lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Instead, allow us to take the reigns and handle all of the legal heavy lifting so that you can focus on yourself and your family.

As your Allentown wrongful death lawyer, we will liaise with the insurance company so that you never get backed into a corner and pressured to take a wrongful death settlement that's less than you deserve. We will gather evidence, from police reports to witness statements and everything in between. We will craft the most compelling case to ensure responsible parties are held accountable.

We will seek justice. We will seek compensation. And we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact us today to speak to a skilled wrongful death lawyer and learn how we can advocate for you. We are ready and waiting to take your call.

Do I Have A Case?

If you think you may have a personal injury case, contact us now for a FREE consultation.

    Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

    609 Hamilton St
    Allentown, PA 18101
    (610) 857-7424

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