When a loved one passes away due to a wrongful death, in addition to the overwhelming grief, it can be frightening and frustrating to manage life and finances without their support. Over 200,000 people die yearly due to wrongful death. A majority of these deaths were caused by transportation, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractice. However, wrongful deaths can also be from dog bite attacks, product liability, elder abuse, and more.
You should speak to a Pittsburgh wrongful death attorney who can accurately estimate the compensation you deserve for your wrongful death claim. Before you initiate a wrongful death lawsuit, let a seasoned law firm direct you on how to approach your case. As the claimant of a wrongful death victim, a fatal accident can be unmanageable on your own. This is why you can lean on a dedicated law firm to help support you through this family crisis. Contact Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky for a free consultation.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death in Pittsburgh, PA?
According to the wrongful death law in Pittsburgh, PA, wrongful death is when a person dies due to negligent, careless, or reckless actions of another. Wrongful deaths can also be the result of an intentional attack such as a battery, assault, or murder. To qualify for a wrongful death case, the fatal accident should have been caused by some by the actions of another.
What Causes Wrongful Death?
Your family member or loved one may have experienced an untimely death due to one of the following:
Your loved one may have experienced poor quality healthcare because of a negligent doctor or neglectful staff. This can occur because of misdiagnosis, incorrect medications, delayed diagnosis, poor follow-up, birth injuries, surgical errors, and more. Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the US today.
Slip, Trips, And Falls
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes and may have been the reason behind the victim’s death. It is not uncommon for guests to fall at a poorly maintained property that is riddled with cracked sidewalks and potholes. Slippery surfaces may be another issue; if they slipped and hit their head or back hard enough, they can experience brain trauma and spinal cord injuries. It is the premise owners’ responsibility to manage and update their property when it becomes rundown.
Your loved one can experience product liability due to some inherent malfunction in a service or product which can include a design defect, manufacturing defect, or no appropriate warning listed on the product or instructions. They can get injured by product liability because of a hazardous item or equipment that they purchased. For example, when a product that the victim purchased malfunctions and creates a dangerous situation that results in their death, it is the manufacturer that can be held liable for their wrongful death.
A horrific car accident can result in a wrongful death, and vehicular accidents are one of the most frequent causes of accidental death. If the other party was at fault because they were broke a traffic law or were inattentive while driving, they could be held liable for the victim’s injuries. Truck, car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents make up a large percentage of wrongful death cases.
Poorly managed assisted living facilities can also be the reason behind your loved one’s death. The victim may end up experiencing poor hygiene, become malnourished, be physically or sexually abused, receive incorrect medicine, or other forms of neglect that greatly reduce their mental, emotional, and mental health. Shockingly, elder abuse, and 1 in 12 victims on experience psychological abuse. Additionally, 1 in 20 have been physically abused, 1 in 44 will have been financially exploited, and 1 in 57 have been neglected by a caregiver.
Who can sue for wrongful death in PA?
The personal representative of a deceased victim’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The person named in the will can also file, but in the event that there is no will, a spouse or dependent can file one according to Pennysylvania wrongful death law. When there are no such family members, then the opportunity to file goes down the line of relatives. For example, parents and siblings may be next in line. However, in most cases, you, anyone listed in the will, and other family members may want to file a wrongful death claim. In most cases, the wrongful death claim can be negotiated without the need for litigation. Law suits take additional time because of the lengthy process required to review your case. Ultimately, the plaintiffs will have to decide whether to take the settlement offer or pursue justice through the courts.
Wrongful Death Statistics
According to the CDC, there were a total of 200,955 unintentional deaths caused by accidents at a total of 61 individuals per 100,000 people. Unintentional falls resulted in 42,114 deaths and motor vehicle fatalities making up 40,698 wrongful deaths. Unintentional poisioning resulted in 87,404 of the wrongful deaths, which was on average 26.5 individuals out of 100,000 people. Many wrongful deaths were tied to medical errors, causing 251,454 deaths in 2013. Nursing home residents have a 300% higher rate of mortality if they have been abused.
Pittsburgh Wrongful Death FAQs
You can ask a Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer additional questions about how to approach wrongful death lawsuits and whether this is the right track for you. Here are commonly asked questions answered addressed to a Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer:
Average Amount Received In A Wrongful Death Settlement
According to Pennsylvania wrongful death law, with the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney, anyone listed in the will or surviving family members can claim a settlement that is entirely based on three categories of damages. There is no average amount, which is why you need a Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer to accurately estimate how much you can receive in damages to provide you with the most honest answer. This includes economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. The highest amount that was claimed in 2020 was $3,300,000 due to a motor vehicle accident that held the business liable under negligent tort. Nationwide, across wrongful death lawsuits, the average was between $500,000 to $1 million.
How Long Does It Take?
An experienced wrongful death attorney can let you know how long the process will take based on your particular case. Each case is unique, which means it can be difficult to determine how long it might take. The longest stage of the settlement claim is dependent upon the discovery process, which is the investigative portion of the wrongful death claim. If the evidence is strong, it will be easier to resolve the claim within months. However, if the case is complex and the evidence isn’t completely dependable, you can expect the lawsuit to continue for two to four years. Remember that a Pittsburgh wrongful death case must be filed within two years of the death of the loved one by the surviving family members or the personal representative of the family member’s estate that is named in the will.
How Attorneys Help
Wrongful death attorneys can estimate how much you deserve in compensation. They can also let you know whether it makes sense to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit based on the evidence. If your loved one’s death can’t be connected to the other party, then it may not be in your best interest to file a wrongful death claim. Pittsburgh wrongful death attorneys can calculate economic damages, such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills, loss of future earnings, loss of benefits such as pension plans, and the value of the deceased’s goods and services that they can no longer provide. This compensation prevents family members and any representatives listed in the will from being stuck with funeral expenses, income loss, leftover medical expenses, and other bills that the wrongful death created.
Your wrongful death lawyer can also estimate non-economic damages, something that a lot of insurers fail to include, which can result in a far smaller settlement than you deserve. For example, damages that should be included in wrongful death claims are the loss of companionship from the deceased, loss of consortium for spouses, as well as any pain and suffering experienced by the victim and the remaining survivors. They can also estimate damages such as the loss of guidance, advice, nurturing, training, mentorship, and care that the wrongful death victim provided. You can have the peace of mind knowing that you are compensated due to someone else’s negligence after the untimely passing of the victim.
Wrongful death attorneys can also perform an investigation to find evidence that shows how the victim’s wrongful death was caused by another’s negligent actions. This will be incredibly important during a wrongful death lawsuit because strong evidence is the most crucial factor in the decision-making process. Your lawyer is also your personal representative, as it is their job to communicate and negotiate settlement sums throughout wrongful death cases and relieve survivors of this burden.
Get More Information On How To Obtain Fair Wrongful Death Damages
Wrongful death cases require in-depth examination and investigation into how these accidents occur. You can hire us on a contingency-fee basis that allows us to provide our dedicated services with no upfront payment. After you receive your settlement, we take a percentage of the sum as compensation. With the help of a Pittsburgh, PA attorney who is experienced in Pennsylvania law, you can receive the guidance you need to get through this difficult time. Wrongful death lawyers have experience in obtaining settlements on behalf of grieving survivors. When someone else was negligent and caused a death that took away your loved one from you, you should receive compensation to help you recover from the financial deficit caused by their absence. Call Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky today for a free consultation now.
Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, P.C’s main office is located at 245 Fort Pitt Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, only about 8 minutes from Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, just over a mile away from The Andy Warhol Museum, and about 2 minutes away from the Point State Park. Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is only 12 minutes away. Gary Ogg, Mike Murphy, John Perkosky, David Houk, and Ben Gobel, the principal attorneys at Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, P.C, are your trusted source for addressing personal injury, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation cases. With a proven history of expertise and success, Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky ensures your legal representation instills confidence in every aspect of your case. Call our Pittsburgh law firm today at (412) 471-8500 with further questions.