Who Has the Right to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in PA?
When someone dies due to another person’s negligent or intentional act, certain loved ones of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party to hold them financially responsible.
We know that no amount of money can compensate you for your loss, but a wrongful death settlement can take care of your financial concerns and allow your family to process their grief. For wrongful death, Pennsylvania only allows certain people to file a lawsuit.
A wrongful death attorney at Rosen Justice Injury Lawyers can review the details of your case and determine if you qualify to bring a wrongful death claim. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death—Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law requires the personal representative of the decedent’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the personal representative does not file the wrongful death lawsuit within six months of the death, any of the decedent’s beneficiaries can file the wrongful death claim on behalf of all beneficiaries. The award or settlement stemming from a wrongful death claim is distributed as follows:
- If the deceased has no surviving spouse or children, the settlement proceeds go to the deceased’s parents;
- If the deceased has a surviving spouse but no surviving parents or descendants, the proceeds go to the deceased’s surviving spouse;
- If the deceased has surviving children but no surviving spouse, the proceeds are split equally between the descendants;
- If the deceased has a surviving spouse and surviving descendants, the spouse receives the first $30,000 of the settlement and one-half of the remaining settlement proceeds, and the descendants split the remaining proceeds equally;
- If the deceased has a surviving spouse, no surviving descendants, and surviving parents, the spouse receives the first $30,000 of the settlement and one-half of the remaining settlement proceeds, and the deceased’s parents receive the remainder of the settlement; or
- If the deceased lacks any surviving children, surviving parents, or surviving spouse, the deceased’s surviving siblings can receive the wrongful death settlement.
A wrongful death lawyer can help determine who is entitled to the wrongful death award and how to distribute the proceeds.
What Is the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a period during which someone must file a legal claim or lose their ability to file altogether. The statute of limitations ensures that evidence of the wrongful death stays fresh and prevents people from fearing a potential wrongful death lawsuit for the rest of their lives.
How Long Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania limits how long someone can file a wrongful death lawsuit to two years after the deceased’s death. If you file a wrongful death claim after the two-year period, a judge will likely dismiss your case.
The statute of limitations is two years from when the death occurs. Therefore, if your loved one spent time in the hospital before succumbing to their injuries, the statutory period does not start until they pass away.
Certain exceptions can apply that extend or shorten the statutory period. A wrongful death lawyer can help determine whether an exception applies to your case.
Although two years may seem long, the statutory period can sneak up on you. You should contact a wrongful death attorney immediately after your loved one’s death to start the legal process. The sooner you meet with a member of our team, the sooner we can begin working on your case.
Contact a PA Wrongful Death Lawyer at Rosen Justice Injury Lawyers Today
Our team of attorneys at Rosen Justice Injury Lawyers has over 75 years of combined experience helping clients navigate wrongful death lawsuits. We know that no wrongful death settlement can compensate you for losing your loved one, but we can help recover the largest award possible to help you and your loved ones financially. Let our team worry about the details of your lawsuit while you focus on grieving your loss.
When you work with us, you can trust that we put your interests first and work relentlessly to secure a favorable outcome. Contact Rosen Justice Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation with a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer.