Filing a wrongful death claim after a car accident

Car accidents can have devastating consequences, including serious injuries and death. When a loved one is fatally injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be very difficult for the family members left behind.

When a person passes away because of the negligence, recklessness or intentional act of another person, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a claim for wrongful death. This may be the surviving spouse, children or parents of the deceased person.

Elements of the claim

There are several elements that must be met to bring a successful wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania.

The responsible party must have owed a duty of care to the deceased individual. In car accidents, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.

The responsible party must have breached their duty of care through negligent or wrongful actions. This could include reckless driving, driving under the influence, distracted driving, or other violations. The breach of duty must have caused the accident that led to the death of the individual.

The surviving family members must have suffered economic and non-economic damages because of the death. Economic damages may include medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and loss of financial support. Non-economic damages may include emotional pain, loss of companionship, and loss of contributions to the household.

Timeline to file

The wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. If the claim is not filed in this timeline, the personal representative may not be able to seek compensation.