When you suffer the loss of a loved one your world is turned upside down. It doesn’t matter how young or old your loved one was, not being able to talk to them, hug them, kiss them or eat a meal with them anymore can be devastating. What makes this an even more upsetting situation is when your loved one’s death was deemed to be wrongful, or caused by the negligence of another person. Our wrongful death lawyer would like to help you determine if your loved one’s death was wrongful so you know whether or not to pursue legal action.
A Loved One Died
It isn’t easy to discuss but one of the first things you must have present is the death of a loved one before you can even consider legal action. Your loved one must have died because of the negligent actions of someone else in order to be considered for a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one is still alive but was tragically injured, you can still file a lawsuit but it would need to be of the personal injury nature and not wrongful death.
Proving Negligence Caused the Death
You will need to prove that negligence caused the death of your loved one in order for it to be deemed as wrongful. The defendant in the case will need to have owed the victim a duty of care. This means that the defendant needed to act responsibly around the victim or when dealing with the victim. Then, the defendant needed to have violated that duty of care, which means that the defendant failed to act responsibly. The most important part here is that you must be able to prove that the defendant’s actions directly led to the death of your loved one.
The Relationship You Had with the Victim
If you were able to show that the defendant’s actions directly led to your loved one’s death, the next step in the process is to examine the relationship you had with the victim. For example, if you were a co-worker or friend of the deceased you will have no legal right to file a lawsuit in the death of your friend.
In Pennsylvania, the representative of the deceased’s estate is permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit is filed by the representative on behalf of the beneficiaries named in the estate. Should the representative not file a lawsuit within six months of the death of the loved one any of the beneficiaries can file the lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. If the lawsuit is not filed by that time then the case will typically not be heard by the court unless there were extenuating circumstances that you can prove delayed the filing.
The loss of a loved one due to negligence is never easy to handle. It’s best you have the advice and expertise of a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney on your side. Call the Dan Doyle Law Group at 215-987-3730 to schedule a free consultation today.