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Wrongful Death Lawsuit: When You Lose a Loved One Because of Negligence

No amount of money can make up for the loss of a beloved family member or spouse. But, financial compensation can alleviate the financial burdens you may be facing, and provide future security for you and your family. The knowledge that those responsible for your loss have been brought to justice can provide some peace of mind. If you suffered the loss of a family member due to an accident or an act of negligence, the wrongful death attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help you pursue legal action to hold the negligent party accountable.

$32 Million Wrongful Death

$26 Million Truck Accident

$17.5 Million Car Accident

$12 Million Product Liability

$9 Million Truck Accident

$8 Million Truck Accident

$8 Million Truck Accident

$7.5 Million Auto Accident

$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Accident

$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury

$5 Million Medical Malpractice

$5 Million Bus Accidents

We have helped hundreds of families like yours obtain justice, even against powerful entities. For more than 60 years, our wrongful death lawyer has fought for families and individuals who have lost a family member as a result of someone else’s wrongful action. We understand the pain that you and your loved ones are going through at this time and will fight on your behalf so you can concentrate on putting the pieces back together again.

Chat live, fill out our email form, or call today for a free consultation regarding whether you may have a wrongful death claim. There is no fee for our services unless we win your case and recover your damages.

What is a “Wrongful Death”?

mourner placing hand on casketA wrongful death action is when an individual dies as a result of negligence or the misconduct of another party. Negligence is a legal term with a unique definition in personal injury law, but negligence generally includes behavior that is careless, reckless, or fails to act with reasonable care. If negligence results in wrongful death, the surviving family members of the deceased may pursue legal action against the party at fault. For example, if a pedestrian dies by a drunk driver, the family of the pedestrian can file a wrongful death claim against that driver.

Wrongful death law can be a little different depending on which state’s law applies. Determining which state’s law applies can get complicated, especially when the events that caused your loved one’s death happened in more than one state, your loved one was traveling between states when they died, or the negligent party lives in another state. With that in mind, talking to Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys’s attorneys, all of whom have experience in Pennsylvania and beyond, is the best way to decide if you may have a wrongful death claim under the governing law.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to Pennslyvania law, only the surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death claim. The beneficiaries do not have to live in Pennsylvania in order to file a wrongful death claim.

If the deceased has no surviving spouse, child, or parent, a personal representative of the family’s estate may be able to pursue a wrongful death case for economic damages such as medical bills and funeral costs. Of course, family dynamics can be complicated, especially in the wake of a tragedy. If you are unsure whether you have the right to pursue legal action, or whether you can proceed given the dynamics of your family, contact a wrongful death lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for guidance. We will review your unique situation at no charge and explain your rights.

What Compensation Can the Family Receive in a Wrongful Death Claim?

As the spouse, child, parent, grandparent, or legal guardian of someone who died as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you receive compensation for:

  • Medical and funeral costs
  • Lost earnings and benefits of the deceased
  • Loss of care and companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of security for those dependent on the deceased
  • In cases involving gross negligence, punitive damages designed to punish the negligent party

While no amount of money will truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover damages to help relieve the financial burden placed on a family in the aftermath of an accident. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys works to secure your financial future so that you can grieve and begin to move forward with your family.

How Can You Prove Wrongful Death?

Like other types of negligence, you will need to show the following elements to prove your wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The at-fault party owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For example, a driver has the responsibility of keeping everyone on the road safe from harm when driving their vehicle.
  • The at-fault party had breached their duty of care. Once the duty of care has been established, the plaintiff will then need to show that the at-fault party was negligent in their duties and failed to keep the deceased person safe.
  • Since the at-fault party had failed to protect the other party from harm, death had occurred. This is what’s called causation, which is a link to how the breach of duty of care caused the wrongful death.
  • Finally, you will need to show that the death of a loved one caused damages to you and your family. This includes but is not limited to burial expenses, medical bills, and lost wages.

Why Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Caroline Munley speaking with paralegal in her officeThe aftermath of a death in the family is not something you should ever have to navigate alone. This is especially true when that death was caused by someone else’s negligence. Personal injury law is complex, and the legal process after an accidental death is certainly difficult. It is likely that you and your family will have many questions about the best way forward. For example, sometimes an insurance company or negligent party makes an early offer to settle your wrongful death claim. Should you accept it, or try to obtain wrongful death damages in court? Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys’s wrongful death attorneys have been there and can help you decide on a plan of action.

We will answer your questions, help you fill out any paperwork and deal with the insurance companies and other lawyers on your behalf. Furthermore, we will not collect a fee unless we recover benefits for you. You will not owe us anything up front or out of pocket. And, our initial consultation is absolutely free. So, you risk nothing by contacting us to speak with our wrongful death lawyers about your unique situation and whether a wrongful death claim makes sense.

Once we’re involved, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys will start right away building your case. This means we’ll investigate what happened, gather evidence from you, the negligent parties, and any third parties, and get it ready to support your claim.

Lawyers are key to building your case. With our experience, we can help decide what evidence will be most persuasive to a jury and make sure that evidence is gathered quickly and effectively. The last thing you and your family are thinking about after losing a loved one is what evidence you need to prove that someone else was at fault. Nevertheless, it is best to act quickly, as some evidence can be lost or harder to find as time passes. Furthermore, complicated rules govern what evidence can be presented to a jury, and how it must be presented. Our personal injury lawyers can navigate these issues with ease.

Finally, at times, you will need an expert witness to testify to support your case. This happens when your case involves technical or scientific information. We can identify subject matter experts and get them started on your case. We will also prepare them for trial and make sure they’re prepared to counter any experts hired by the negligent parties.

A wrongful death lawsuit will not only hold the negligent party accountable for their actions, but it can also alleviate the financial burden wrongfully imposed on your family in the wake of a loved one’s death. We understand that thinking about money, and dealing with someone who caused your loved one’s death, is likely the last thing you and your family want to do when mourning. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can take this burden from you; we’ll work on your wrongful death claim while you and your family grieve your lost loved one.

What are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death?

There are many different situations that can give rise to wrongful death claims. Accordingly, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed after most types of accidents that result in death caused by another person’s negligence or corporate wrongdoing. Common causes of wrongful death lawsuits include:

Truck Accidents

Approximately 4,000 people are killed in accidents involving large trucks.  Many of those people are truck drivers themselves. These lawsuits can be incredibly complex, given the different parties who may ultimately be responsible. For example, the truck driver, the trucking company, and an insurance company may all be involved. A successful wrongful death lawsuit, be it resolved by a settlement or a case in a courtroom, will require an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is one of the nation’s leading truck accident law firms. We have earned national recognition for our settlements and verdicts on behalf of truck accident victims. We have experience representing the families of drivers, passengers, bikers, pedestrians, and truckers who died in fatal truck crashes.

Car Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are a leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Distracted driving, driver fatigue, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and reckless driving behaviors continue to cause preventable fatal car crashes every day. While common, these cases are no less challenging.

Many wrongful death lawyers specialize in car accidents, but at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, you won’t just be another car accident case. Our lawyers approach each case with attention and care, recognizing that for you and your family, you’re living through some of your hardest days. The car accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys will give your case the attention it deserves, and can help you hold the negligent party accountable and obtain the compensation you need to move forward.

Bus Accidents

While bus accidents are, thankfully, rare, they do happen. These accidents tend to be particularly devastating when they do occur. When these accidents result in the death of a loved one, you need an experienced advocate. Wrongful death lawsuits following bus accidents are challenging for many reasons, including that they often require negotiations with government entities, like a city or school district. While these entities may be inclined to reach a settlement for any wrongful death lawsuits caused by a bus accident, an experienced lawyer can help ensure you are getting the compensation you deserve.

Medical Malpractice

When we seek healthcare, we put our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, in the hands of our medical professionals. We expect healthcare providers to take this responsibility seriously. Even still, wrongful deaths resulting from medical negligence are among the leading causes of wrongful death cases. A delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, medication error, failure to monitor a medical condition, or any other act of medical negligence can mean the difference between life and death. Filing a wrongful death action can hold a negligent healthcare professional responsible.

Wrongful death claims against medical professionals are challenging, but an experienced wrongful death law firm can navigate through the technical nature of a medical malpractice case. If you believe a medical professional’s negligence was responsible for your loved one’s death, the medical malpractice lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help you alleviate the burden by obtaining wrongful death damages from the medical professional, hospital, and/or insurance company at fault.

Work Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, roughly 4,400 workplace fatalities occur every year. Trucking and transportation, construction, petroleum and natural gas, and healthcare are among the industries with the highest rates of injury and death. Personal injury lawyers are no strangers to wrongful death claims in these situations.

Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is experienced in working at the intersection of negligence and workers’ compensation law. If your loved one was killed while doing their job and providing for their family, we can help. We can help you secure your loved one’s death benefits under the complex workers’ compensation system. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, our wrongful death lawyers can help you decide if it is still possible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against a third party.

Get the Justice that Your Loved One Deserves

If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you deserve justice. Don’t hesitate much longer – contact the wrongful death attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation. We can help you decide if a wrongful death claim is right for you and your family. Contacting us costs you nothing, and our compassionate lawyers are here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Cases

Philadelphia wrongful death lawyerIt is natural to have more questions than answers after losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence. It’s also natural to be unsure whether a wrongful death suit is something you want to pursue. Wrongful death cases certainly aren’t easy, but contacting Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys’s experienced wrongful death attorneys is the best way to get answers to those questions. Speaking with one of our attorneys is free, and won’t obligate you to do anything. That being said, below we’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions our clients have about wrongful death lawsuits.

Q: What is the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A: In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years from the date of death. That said, when it comes to a fatal accident, time is of the essence. While you generally have two years to file a lawsuit, it is still best to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Wrongful death lawyers work with you long before the filing of a lawsuit. For example, critical evidence can be lost or destroyed in the days and weeks following a fatal accident.  A lawyer can help ensure this evidence is retained and prepared for use in proving your claim.

What’s more, wrongful death lawyers may be able to resolve your claim without filing a formal lawsuit. Early action by an experienced attorney can get you the results you deserve with a wrongful death settlement. This could save much of the expense and burden imposed by a formal court case.

The bottom line, the sooner you speak with a wrongful death lawyer, the sooner we can pursue justice for your family.

Q: Should I Accept a Wrongful Death Settlement From the Insurance Company?

A: Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company before consulting with an experienced wrongful death lawyer, like those at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. Unfortunately, the settlement offered by an insurance company is usually a fraction of what you would receive with the help of a lawyer. And, in most cases, if you accept an offer of settlement, you waive your right to seek additional compensation, even if the settlement proves to be insufficient. You could also unknowingly waive, or severely limit, your ability to successfully seek compensation from other parties who might have been at fault.

For this reason, it is important that the surviving family consult a personal injury lawyer first. Don’t let the insurance company, or the negligent party, pressure you into accepting an offer too early.

Q: How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

A: At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we only charge on a contingent-fee basis. This means that we only collect a fee if we win your case and obtain damages for you. The contingent-fee agreement also protects you from any financial risk if your case is not successful. And, we do not charge anything for our initial consultation, so it will not cost you anything to meet with us to discuss your potential case.

Q: How Long Will a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?

Unfortunately, this will depend on many factors.

For example, sometimes our personal injury lawyer can resolve your wrongful death lawsuit with a settlement with the at-fault parties. This means that we never have to proceed to a formal court case. While we can’t guarantee the negligent parties will be willing to settle, or willing to offer you the compensation you need through a settlement, there are benefits to settling a case. Chief among them is, usually, settling a case can get you compensation much faster than a formal lawsuit. Indeed, some cases can be fully resolved in as quickly as a few months. For that reason, it’s important that you speak to an experienced lawyer as quickly as possible. Early, aggressive advocacy is often key!

If the negligent party is not willing to give you the compensation you deserve through a settlement, our lawyers are prepared to, and known for their ability to, fight on your behalf in court. No matter the opponent, we are ready to advocate for you and your family.

That said, this unfortunately takes time. We won’t let the negligent parties drag their feet, but even still, most courts have incredibly busy dockets, and building a successful wrongful death case takes time. Our lawyers have to investigate your case, gather evidence, which can include hiring expert witnesses, negotiate with the opposing parties, and prepare to present the case in court. All told, this could take as long as a year or two, depending on the court in which we file.

Q: What Happens If My Loved One Died Outside of Pennsylvania?

Where a case gets filed will depend on the individual circumstances of the case, and we’re happy to discuss the many factors that impact that decision during our initial conversation. That said, if your loved one lived in Pennsylvania and died as a result of negligence that occurred in Pennsylvania, your claim would likely be filed in Pennsylvania.

That said, in certain complex cases, we might have to file a case outside of Pennsylvania. That’s okay. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is experienced working throughout the nation, and if a case should be filed in another state, or an area of Pennsylvania in which we do not have an office, we’re still right for the job.

The same is true if your loved one died outside of Pennsylvania. We’re experienced in handling cases throughout the country, and we are happy to do so for you and your family. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your case and where it should be filed.

Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is Here to Help

We understand this is a trying time and we are here for you. By hiring our personal injury lawyers to handle your wrongful death lawsuit, we will fight on your family members’ behalf and make sure that justice is served. We will make sure you recover compensation for your loved one so you can move on from the tragedy.

Don’t wait another moment. Contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation. We don’t get paid until we win your case.

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