When you’ve lost a loved one through a tragic accident, your family may still be suffering from that loss. You’re grieving, you’re facing steep costs for their final expenses, and you may have lost the person providing income for your household.
If someone else’s carelessness causes your suffering, you may have grounds for a lawsuit handled by your Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer. At Baratta Law, LLC, we know your family’s loss can impact your future and wellbeing. We’re ready to help you recover.
Cases Involving Wrongful Deaths Are Deeply Personal
When the negligence of other people has resulted in the loss of a loved one, it’s no longer possible for that individual to recover their economic damages. Even medical bills may be unpaid, not to mention the family’s pain and suffering. That’s why wrongful death cases are filed by the families of victims of fatal injuries caused by the negligence or malicious intent of others.
An incident of wrongful death can occur in many ways, but some of the most tragically common causes are the following:
- Automobile Accidents – A trucking collision with an 18-wheeler or crashes involving pedestrians, for example, can turn fatal easily. Motorcycle accidents and car or other vehicle crashes resulting in death are also compensable for victims’ families.
- Medical Malpractice – When doctors and nurses have failed to uphold their duty of care, their carelessness may result in the death of a patient. They have a form of insurance called malpractice coverage to compensate victims’ families for their losses.
- Defective Products – Many types of serious injuries leading to death can occur when products are not manufactured with the utmost care. Victims’ families are entitled to compensation in the event of a fatal product defect incident.
- Premises Liability – A dangerous property condition sometimes makes the difference between life and death. Business owners bear accountability for severe injuries and deaths that occur on visits to their premises.
One of the factors common to claims for wrongful death is the negligence of another party or parties. When someone else is responsible for the loss of a loved one, you need a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney. We’re advocates with decades of experience fighting for the families of our community and winning justice for the losses they’ve suffered.
The Guidance a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Provide
When you’ve claimed the wrongful death of a loved one, the circumstance leading to this devastating tragedy may seem to prove the defendant’s negligence. But just as in other types of personal injury lawsuits, insurance companies are experts at dodging liability. An experienced lawyer in these practice areas won’t stop until they’ve earned a winning outcome for you.
There are many elements of a claim involving fatalities where an effective lawyer can make a considerable difference in settlements or verdicts. Our consultants are honored to have the chance to ease the burden placed on families of fatal accident victims in Philadelphia. Below are a few of the benefits of hiring someone who has made justice for these cases their career:
Investigate and Compile Evidence
When lawyers represent families of fatal negligence victims, one of the first issues to be addressed is liability. Your attorney will get started compiling evidence through the investigation of witness statements, photos, police reports, medical bills, and other documentation. Evidence can solidify each damage you’ve claimed against the other party’s insurance.
Though an insurance adjuster may have already offered a settlement, remember that these agencies aren’t interested in what constitutes rightful compensation. Because insurers want to pay as little as possible, our lawyers use specific evidence regarding each contributing circumstance. This tactic establishes liability and obligates the defense’s insurance to pay in full.
Trials are not always required in wrongful death lawsuits. However, litigation is much more likely to result in success when evidence is collected and reviewed early and throughout the process. A dedicated attorney with knowledge of personal injury laws and Pennsylvania courts is one of the most valuable resources available to the families of victims of preventable fatalities.
Evaluate and Pursue All of Your Compensable Losses
Medical bills are only the start of financial problems when a loved one passes away in an accident or other instance of negligence. In addition to these bills, your family may face costly expenses not covered by insurance, like funeral and burial costs, estate administration fees, and loss of income. A skilled attorney will help you calculate and fight for all your damages.
When the loss of a loved one results in a decrease in household wages, your financial future may be at risk. Money awarded in settlements has helped many families as they continue trying to handle normal household costs while dealing with a traumatic experience. These practical issues can become lifetime problems without the resources of professional representation.
The insurance companies of negligent parties who cause wrongful deaths should bear full accountability and pay families what they deserve.
An experienced lawyer evaluating claims in these areas can do more than provide detailed advice and guidance for your unique situation. They can also pursue these companies for settlements and verdicts that begin to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
There’s No Charge for Our Service Unless We Achieve Justice
Like other claims for personal injuries, wrongful death cases are taken by lawyers on a contingency basis, meaning that clients don’t pay unless a settlement or verdict is won. You never pay our office upfront for the advice, service, or representation we provide throughout your case. Unless we achieve a reasonable settlement for your family, we will never charge you anything.
Contingency fees are fixed percentages of final settlements or verdicts, and they’re agreed upon at the beginning of your case. Clients can rest with confidence in the knowledge that the only way our office gets paid is through commitment and dedicated attention to their cases, and contingency fees are always clearly communicated during the first steps as you obtain professional representation.
There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer with a reputation for excellence to handle your wrongful death claim. Our expert consultants provide our clients with every possible advantage for a winning outcome. We prepare our cases thoroughly and early, we know how to negotiate with insurance agencies and navigate courts, and most importantly, we genuinely care for your cause.
What Types of Compensable Damage Can I Pursue for My Loved One’s Wrongful Death?
After losing a loved one, you may have accrued bills and expenses that make it tough to focus on your losses. You may be due damages, but you may also be unsure how to calculate those damages.
If you’re unsure what damages you may be entitled to during a Philadelphia wrongful death case, check out our list below.
Outstanding Hospital or Medical Bills
Wrongful death claims typically involve catastrophic injuries that have resulted in medical and hospital bills. When the unthinkable happens and accident victims pass away, families are left with medical expenses for injuries and treatments such as broken bones, burns, prescription drugs, surgeries like amputation, brain injury, and paralysis. Injuries incur compensable costs.
The average costs for doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers in the instance of wrongful death are in the tens of thousands of dollars. That amounts to a drastic change in the quality of life for many families. Accountability for the compensation needed should fall squarely on negligent drivers or other parties and their insurance coverage.
Lawyers who handle accident claims like wrongful death matters will obtain information like medical records for the deceased on their clients’ behalf. With years of experience, our lawyers and consultants can negotiate these numbers with medical providers. This can reduce statement amounts and increase the final sum awarded, whether by settlement or in the courts.
Estate Administration Costs
When a loved one passes unexpectedly, it may be a challenge for their family to handle their financial affairs. Dealing with funds, property, and taxes may require the assistance of at least one professional. A few of the expenses commonly associated with estate administration are:
- Fees paid to attorneys, accountants, or return preparers
- Cost of management, maintenance, and sale of property
- Expenses incurred through determination of the estate’s tax liability
- Fiduciary fees for estate administration
- Fees for court and having probate documents recorded
The rules and laws governing the administration of an estate can make every decision feel overwhelming and may only leave you with questions. For assistance in answering them and recovering all of the compensable damages you’ve suffered, you need the expertise and determination of a professional in these categories of the law as your advocate.
Loss of Financial Support
No matter your loved one’s normal wages, when they have been killed due to negligence or maliciousness, your household’s financial future is likely to be affected. There are hundreds or thousands of hours they’ll never work, and medical bills and final expenses start arriving while you’re dealing with reduced income due to the carelessness of others.
These economic damages are compensable factors in insurance claims. Each named defendant and their insurance coverage bears liability for every practical issue your family faces after the preventable death of a loved one. Lawyers can’t guarantee a specific outcome, but we can guarantee that we will represent your cause to the best of our abilities and with the utmost respect.
While devastating to plan, funerals, burials or cremations, grave markers, and other final expenses are also costly. If the victim did not have life insurance or was under-insured, you could be left with bills in the tens of thousands of dollars for these costs alone. We understand that you’re tired of receiving bills in the mail while dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Getting an insurance adjuster to pay several types of economic damages can be a challenge. They will attempt to influence families to accept lowball settlements in hopes that they can get away with partial compensation. But final expenses are no exception to what victims’ families are owed for wrongful deaths. Our lawyers are experts at making them pay all you deserve.
Pain and Suffering
Perhaps the most devastating damage–and the biggest challenge to quantify–is the mental and emotional anguish caused by a wrongful death. When another individual’s negligence has cause a loved one’s death, family members may experience depression and feel their lives have been turned upside down by the incident. Their quality of life has been violated in many ways.
Though emotional pain is hard to quantify, skilled lawyers in these practice areas know how to put numbers on what’s legally known as pain and suffering. These are non-economic, intangible damages. While your grief cannot be repaired by dollars, a winning verdict can begin to compensate the people who have suffered the most due to the negligent actions of others.
Common Questions about Philadelphia Wrongful Death Claims
Each state government has its own rules and statutes regarding personal injury lawsuits such as those for wrongful death. Here are a few important things to keep in mind about Pennsylvania laws in terms of a claim for wrongful death. If you have more questions for our team, reach out for a free consultation.
What Are Some Examples of Wrongful Death?
Fatalities can occur in many ways, but those that have resulted from negligence constitute a form of personal injury called wrongful death. From car accidents to dog bites, people are most often killed by the same types of negligence and carelessness that cause compensable but survivable personal injuries in a serious accident that doesn’t result in fatalities.
- Vehicle Accidents – From a bicycle to a bus, sideswiping to speeding, an automobile collision can cause fatalities. A motorcycle accident, rollover accident, trucking accident, or any collision involving pedestrians can also be deadly. Another driver’s choice to operate a passenger vehicle while intoxicated, distracted, tired, or even eating lunch can make the difference between life and death.
- Workplace Accidents – Your employer must keep their workers safe from injuries. Their failure to be adequately concerned with formal safety rules, particularly in dangerous workplaces such as construction sites, can result in devastating injuries like disfigurement, brain or spinal injury, and too often, death. In addition to financial accountability for your injuries, their business license is at risk.
- Medical Malpractice – Though we associate the medical profession with the highest ethical standards, sometimes even doctors and their staff make mistakes. Unfortunately, this failure can cause fatalities in a heartbeat–for example, if a nurse gives a patient the incorrect dosage of certain drugs, it can result in a lethal overdose. Malpractice insurance bears responsibility for all injuries and losses suffered.
- Defective Products – When products like automobile parts, electronics, and medical devices are not manufactured properly, things can quickly go in a bad direction for consumers. From exploding batteries in cars or vape pens to improperly engineered biomedical implants or equipment, safety in manufacturing should never be optional. An everyday product can all too quickly become lethal.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
After a preventable death, there is a specific period during which a claim for damages must be filed. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations in wrongful death cases is two years from the date of death. This is important to note, as some accidents or events may have resulted in preventable deaths days or weeks in the future.
However, if the deadline passes to have the claim filed with the courts, it’s rare for an extension to be granted. This makes it even more important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible so that your family is protected by experts who can not only provide guidance but also prepare you to overcome limitations and obstacles on the path to justice.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims?
The spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may recover damages for their losses proportional to what they would take under intestate laws. This means the award would be allocated to those family members according to Pennsylvania estate laws. In the absence of such a relative, personal representatives may bring lawsuits on behalf of the deceased.
In addition to wrongful death claims, lawsuits called survival actions may be filed by representatives of the estate. Any beneficiaries named in the will, including non-relatives and charitable organizations, are eligible to recover economic damages in survival actions. There may be differences in the allocation of funds, so be sure you have experts on your side.
How Is the Other Party’s Negligence Proved?
One of the biggest factors in a winning wrongful death case is firmly established negligence of another party or parties. Compiling detailed evidence early is a vital tool for accident lawyers, and it will be reviewed throughout the progression of your case. If litigation becomes necessary, our lawyers will open with confidence in how diligently they’ve worked to prepare your case.
Though negligence may appear straightforward in cases involving wrongful death, there are many factors that insurance companies will use to complicate the issue. The guidance of a dedicated attorney and a friendly staff makes all the difference in the direction your case will take.
Reach Out to a Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyer for the Guidance You Need
When you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you and your family have suffered enough. Once your case is handed over to a top-rated leader in the field of wrongful death, you can rest assured that our lawyers will be actively fighting to make sure you emerge from the tragedy of your loss in the light of justice.
Let Baratta Law, LLC and our trusted lawyers with decades of experience provide the guidance you need to face the challenges ahead. To schedule a free case review by one of our attorneys, give us a call at 215-914-8132 or fill out the contact form below.