Do You Have a Wrongful Death Case? Three Examples of Common Claims

Losing a family member is a traumatic event. However, when the death was caused by negligence or intentional wrongdoing, anger and frustration combined with grief. 

A wrongful death occurs when someone causes the untimely death of your loved one. Pennsylvania wrongful death laws allow you to sue the at-fault party and recover compensation for damages. 

Money cannot replace a loved one or ease the grief the family experiences. However, a monetary award can help with bills and expenses after a family member’s death. In addition, holding the person responsible for causing your loved one’s death can also bring some measure of closure and justice.

A wrongful death claim can be brought after any personal injury that results in death. Three types of wrongful death cases in Harrisburg, PA, are:

Motor Vehicle Accidents 

Traffic accidents are one of the most common personal injury cases. Thousands of people die each year in car accidents in Pennsylvania. In 2021, there were 1,230 traffic fatalities

Traffic accidents involve all types of vehicles, including passenger cars, commercial trucks, rideshare vehicles, delivery vans, motorcycles, and scooters. Motor vehicle accidents can also involve pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Driver negligence is the most common cause of traffic accidents. Distracted driving, speeding, and impaired driving are common reasons for motor vehicle accidents. Failing to yield the right of way, tailgating, and other traffic violations also lead to car crashes. 

In addition to driver errors, unsafe road conditions and weather conditions could lead to a motor vehicle accident. The parties contributing to the cause of a fatal car accident can be held liable for a wrongful death claim. 

Premises Liability Claims

Property owners have a duty of care to maintain safe premises for the people visiting or invited onto their property. When property owners breach the duty of care, they can be held liable for injuries on their property. 

Common premises liability cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Drowning and swimming pool accidents
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Food poisoning
  • Electrical accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Dog bites and animal attacks
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Playground and school accidents
  • Workplace accidents

A property owner does not need to intend to cause an injury. However, when their negligence results in a death, they can be held liable for wrongful death damages. 

Medical Malpractice 

Thousands of patients are injured and killed each year because of avoidable medical errors and medical negligence. Doctors, nurses, medical facilities, hospitals, and other healthcare providers can be held liable if their conduct contributes to the cause of death. 

Common medical malpractice cases that can result in a wrongful death claim include the following:

  • Failure to monitor patients
  • Surgical errors
  • Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis of a medical condition
  • Failure to refer patients to specialists 
  • Medication errors
  • Failing to order diagnostic tests
  • Mistakes and errors in reading diagnostic results
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Labor and delivery errors
  • Lack of informed consent for medical treatment or procedures

Intentional torts and wrongdoing can lead to a wrongful death case because of medical malpractice. For example, a doctor who practices under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be sued for causing a person’s death. A hospital could be sued if it intentionally cuts corners cleaning and sanitizing to save money, and the lack of sanitary conditions leads to a patient’s death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Harrisburg?

Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws specify that only certain family members can file a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased did not have any surviving family members, the personal representative for the estate could file a claim. 

In most cases, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the person’s death. However, there could be exceptions to the two-year deadline. Therefore, it is wise to seek legal advice from an experienced Harrisburg wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. 

What Damages Can Family Members Receive for a Wrongful Death Claim in Harrisburg, PA?

No amount of money is sufficient to compensate a family for losing a loved one. However, the only recourse civil courts have in wrongful death cases is to order the at-fault party to be financially responsible for the losses and damages caused by the death.

Compensation that family members could receive for a wrongful death claim includes:

  • The loss of income and financial support the person would have provided had they lived
  • Medical bills incurred between the time of injury and the date the person died
  • The costs of cremation, a funeral, and the burial 
  • Compensation for the loss of support, love, services, and guidance the person would have provided had they not died
  • Estate administration costs and fees
  • Compensation for psychological and emotional pain and suffering

The best way to know if you have a wrongful death case is to talk with an experienced Harrisburg wrongful death lawyer. An attorney evaluates your case, explains your legal rights, and advises you on seeking justice for your loved one and family. 

If you’ve been injured in a wrongful death, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963