Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one leaves behind imaginable pain. After suffering a loss, pursuing a legal case might be the last thing on your mind. However, you have the right to seek compensation from any party who may have been the reason for the untimely death of a family member.

Wrongful death cases can be difficult to navigate, especially for families already dealing with heartbreak and loss.

At Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan, we are here to assist during this time. Whether your loved one passed as a result of a construction mishap, car accident, or another matter, contact our firm to see how a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can help at this trying time. While filing a lawsuit cannot bring back your family member, it can give you a sense of justice. So, reach out to us now to discuss your legal options during a free consultation.

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania

Chapter 2200 of Pennsylvania Code defines the concept of wrongful death. It is a preventable fatality that results from someone’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. Let’s look at a few of these examples:

Workplace Accidents

Industrial accidents, such as injury incidents that occur on construction sites, are a serious concern throughout Philadelphia. Other dangerous jobs include warehouse positions and electrical jobs. Unfortunately, there is a high chance of accidents in these industries and others, ones that may result in severe injuries and wrongful deaths.

Sometimes, employers do not ensure safe work environments or adhere to strict safety regulations. All of that can put workers at risk. Negligence in these industrial settings leads to serious consequences, including wrongful deaths.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Auto accidents are often fatal. These collisions can occur between cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, or pedestrians. Crash fatalities are often the result of various factors, including:

  • Excessive speed, which can reduce reaction times and affect the force with which a collision occurs
  • Disobeying traffic laws, such as running red lights, ignoring stop signs, or reckless driving

As you can likely tell, careless and negligent drivers or operators are the primary cause of an innocent person’s death.

Medical Malpractice

A wrongful death can result from medical malpractice under some of the following circumstances:

  • A misdiagnosis leading to delayed treatment or inappropriate care
  • A delayed diagnosis which causes avoidable disease progression, complications, and, tragically, death
  • Mistakes during surgery, such as wrong-site surgery, anesthesia errors, or postoperative infections, all of which can have fatal outcomes
  • Health care providers not adhering to high standards of care

Premises Liability

Owners or occupiers may be accountable for any injuries or deaths that occur on their property. When someone passes away due to negligence on another person’s property, it can lead to a wrongful death claim. These claims can arise as a result of these and other situations:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Swimming pool incidents

Most property owners have a legal obligation to make sure that their premises are safe for visitors.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Elderly residents in nursing homes may suffer due to abuse, neglect, inadequate supervision, or lack of proper care. Sometimes, death can occur when they face:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Untreated medical conditions

Additionally, when nursing home staff fails to provide essential medical attention, hygiene, or emotional support, it can lead to severe health deterioration and death.

These are just examples of wrongful death cases, but there are plenty of other scenarios that can cause tragic consequences.  If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person, business, or entity, contact Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan. We’ll have you meet with a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer to discuss what happened to your family member before they died and help you understand what your rights are.

Was It an Accident or Negligent?

Unfortunately, many deaths are caused by intentional acts, accidents, or negligence.

Intentional acts are criminal offenses, and an individual makes a deliberate decision, such as shooting a gun that results in someone’s unfortunate death.

An accident refers to an unexpected or unforeseen event that occurs unintentionally. Usually, there is no intent or deliberate action. These injury incidents can happen in various settings, including workplaces, homes, and the road. They can also happen suddenly and without prior intention. Typically, accidents do not involve blame or responsibility.

While we might classify car crashes or slips and falls as accidents, loved ones can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if there is an element of negligence in the person’s behavior.

Proving That Negligence Caused a Fatality

Negligence involves a failure to exercise reasonable care or follow established standards. In turn, that can contribute to an incident. These key characteristics of a negligent death include:

  • Duty of care: In these cases, there must be some duty of care owed to the deceased. That is, the other party has a responsibility to take reasonable measures to prevent harm to others. For example, property owners have a duty to make sure their premises are safe, and a doctor must not engage in actions that could harm a patient.
  • Breach of duty: Negligence occurs when an individual or entity fails to meet the standard of care expected in a given situation. In simple terms, they did not take the appropriate precautions or actions that a reasonable party would have taken under the circumstances. The harm caused by negligence must have been reasonably foreseeable. In other words, it should have been apparent to a reasonable person that their actions or inaction could result in the death of an individual.
  • Causation: Negligence must directly cause a person’s death. There needs to be a clear link between the negligent actions and the resulting harm. Without this causal connection, it is difficult to establish a case of negligence.
  • Damages: The individual filing the lawsuit must have suffered some harm, such as paying for the deceased person’s medical bills, funeral costs, or other expenses.

All of these elements are needed to pursue a wrongful death claim against another party. If you would like to learn more about whether you may have a case, contact Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan today.

Who Has the Right to File a Death Claim in Pennsylvania?

According to Pennsylvania law, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the victim may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Loved ones may recover certain expenses through a lawsuit, such as:

  • Funeral costs
  • Medical bills incurred before death
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Compensation for the loss of companionship and emotional support

While it cannot alleviate the pain of losing a loved one, these awards can provide financial relief for families who are facing substantial medical bills and lost income due to the person’s death. It also holds the liable party accountable for the actions or negligence that led to the death.

A survival action is also pursuable under Pennsylvania law § 8302. While wrongful death claims are reserved for immediate family members, most any beneficiary named in the person’s estate can pursue a survival action. With that, they can seek damages for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death. While survival actions are separate from wrongful death cases, the two types of claims are often filed alongside each other.

The filing deadline in these cases is generally within two years of the date of death.

How Can a Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney Help?

After the unfortunate event of a loved one’s passing, you are searching for answers. You want to know what happened and who is responsible for this tragic death.

Handling a wrongful death case by yourself can be overwhelming, especially during a time of grief.  Hiring a wrongful death attorney can enhance the chances of a successful resolution. Additionally, with statutes about who can file a suit and the deadlines, working with an attorney will make sure that you meet all the legal requirements and time limitations.

One of the primary reasons to hire a wrongful death lawyer is that they can help you build a solid case that shows a person or entity was responsible for the death of a loved one. In these cases, you need to prove that negligence played a role in this tragedy. One of your lawyer’s top concerns is gathering and collecting them, which can all help support your claim. A wrongful death attorney will:

  • Collect copies of any police reports: These documents provide an official account of what happened, including details about the accident, statements from witnesses, and any citations issued. From this record, they can determine if the person was responsible for the wrongful death. However, not all cases will have police reports of the incident.
  • Gather medical records: One of the most critical types of evidence is medical records. They document the injuries sustained by the deceased and the treatment received. Hospital records, emergency room reports, and surgical notes can help establish the severity of injuries and the link between the incident and the subsequent death.
  • Enlist expert witness testimony: In many cases, you will need to hire expert witnesses. These professionals have specialized knowledge that can help show negligence on the other party’s behalf. Accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, economists, and forensic specialists can strengthen your argument and clarify complex issues for the court.

Allow a wrongful death attorney to handle the legal aspects of your case. By entrusting the legal process to professionals, you can focus on healing and supporting your family while knowing your case is in capable hands.

Contact a Skilled Wrongful Death Lawyer in Philadelphia Today

Pursuing a wrongful death case is not just about financial compensation. It is also about seeking justice for your loved one and holding those responsible accountable for their actions. This is a way to honor the memory of your loved one and prevent similar tragedies from happening to others.

If you are ready to take the next step and want to learn more about wrongful death proceedings in Pennsylvania, contact a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer.  Our practice has been recognized as the best law firms in Pennsylvania by the U.S. News & World Report. Some of our accolades include being recognized as “Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney” by Super Lawyers and as Best of the Bar by Philadelphia Business Journal.

In other words, we have the experience and knowledge to assist during these times. We will fight for you as we work towards getting you the justice and support you deserve. Contact our office today.

  • Seven Figure Recovery

    Wrongful death of a union carpenter who died on the job after falling through temporary decking at a local bridge

  • $1.5 million

    Wrongful death of a tow truck driver who died on the job when he was accidentally run over by his own tow truck

  • $2.5 million

    Wrongful death by electrocution of a union electrician on the job, when electrical switchgear malfunctioned

  • Seven Figure Recovery

    Wrongful death by electrocution of a union electrician on the job, when electrical switchgear malfunctioned

  • Seven Figure Recovery

    Man who was killed when his car fell off of a 3 floor parking garage due to defective vehicle barrier protection system

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
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