Personal Injury Lawyers Pittsburgh - SMA Law Group
Stewart, Murray and Associates Law Group (SMA Law Group) are experienced, aggressive and compassionate Personal Injury Attorneys and Criminal Lawyers serving Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding region. We represent clients injured in accidents as well as clients facing criminal charges and DUI charges in Pennsylvania.
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Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Attorney

Information on Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania

When someone is taken from us too early it can be a great shock, leaving people with a huge amount of grief, and wondering why the tragedy had to happen in the first place. This is especially true if someone was unexpectedly killed in a car wreck, a worksite accident, during a medical procedure or due to someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior or violence.

Even though grief persists in this dark period, life goes on for the surviving family members after the untimely death of a loved one. Unfortunately, bills still have to be paid, people have to go to work, a funeral has to be arranged and mouths have to be fed.

This is the worst possible time to have to worry about money, and while no amount of compensation can make up for a loved one’s premature death, families should not have to pay for the long-term financial ramifications of a deadly accident that was the fault of another person, employer, medical professional or faulty product.

Our compassionate personal injury attorneys are here to help answer your questions and help you understand your legal rights under Pennsylvania laws.

PITTSBURGH WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS Don’t Pay for Someone Else’s Negligence.

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If someone is to blame for the death of your loved one, even if they were cleared of criminal charges, either he or she (or their insurance company) could be held liable for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death is a legal term used in civil cases for a death caused by another’s negligence. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by immediate surviving family members, such as a spouse, parent or child or someone assigned as a personal representative.

As a close family member or a dependent of the deceased, you may be entitled to collect compensation for any of the following financial burdens:

  • Lost wages and future lost wages of the deceased
  • Lost benefits
  • Lost inheritance
  • End of life expenses and funeral costs
  • Hospital and medical costs
  • Projected future financial contributions (mortgage & tuition)
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Compensation for loss of household services and other support
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Punitive damages / Exemplary damages

The Wrongful Death Attorneys at SMA Law Group are compassionate people who can answer your questions about the legal options for collecting the maximum compensation you deserve. We want to make a positive difference in your life by helping you recover the costs of your loved one’s unjustified death.

We work with families to deal with the insurance companies involved. These insurance companies also have attorneys working for them in order to pay you the minimum amount possible. We will aggressively fight the insurance companies and their attorneys in order to get you the full compensation you deserve.

Our Pittsburgh Attorneys give FREE case evaluations and we do not collect any fees unless we make a recovery for you.

Causes Of Wrongful Death

A wrongful death can happen in any type of accident where another person, doctor or medical professional, organization, company or manufacturer is to blame for someone else’s premature death.

Even if a person is cleared of criminal charges, such as in a car accident for example, they can still be held liable for a wrongful death and their insurance company could be forced to pay the compensation owed to the family of the deceased.

Wrongful death can be the result of any of the following:

GATHERING EVIDENCE FOR A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE

Families who have recently lost a loved one have a great amount to deal with, and the last thing they should be doing in their grief is trying to collect medical records and accident reports. However, after an accident it is critical to start investigating the case right away so that all evidence can be collected in order to build a strong and winnable case.

Fortunately, you do not have to do this alone. Our attorneys have compassion and empathy for what you and your family are going through and we will take charge in gathering the evidence for your case. You will not ever have to pay us unless we make a recovery for you.

We will start as soon as possible in speaking to witnesses, gathering police reports and filing the necessary paperwork.

Call our wrongful death attorneys today for a free evaluation of your case.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Pennsylvania a wrongful death claim can be filed by a spouse, adult child or a parent, unless someone else is named as the personal representative before the death occurred. Minors need an adult guardian to file a wrongful death claim.

Extended family members are only eligible to file a wrongful death claim if the victim had no surviving spouse, child or parent.

A family member can also assign a personal representative to the victim to sue on behalf of the beneficiaries. If the personal representative does not file the wrongful death claim within six months of the date of death any of the beneficiaries may file the claim on behalf of all the beneficiaries.

STATUE OF LIMITATIONS ON WRONGFUL DEATH CASES

“Statute of limitations” is simply a legal term used to describe the time frame in which you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. This is why it is important to speak to a Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible.

How SMA Law Group Can Help

Whether you or your loved one was killed in an accident or is the victim of medical malpractice, we are here to guide you and your family through a difficult time.

We are compassionate attorneys who will fight for the maximum compensation entitled to you. We will aggressively push the car insurance and health insurance companies to get the maximum compensation they owe for the death of your loved one.

Our experienced attorneys will investigate your case and speak with witnesses, medical professionals and law enforcement officials to build a strong and winnable case.

We will meticulously evaluate your medical records, police logs and accident reports and consult with the medical experts to prove who was at fault for the tragedy. We want to help you hold those to blame for the death of your loved one, and their insurance companies, accountable for the money they owe you.

Our Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not pay us anything unless we win your case. There is no fee in simply talking to us and letting us hear your story.

SMA Law Group: The Difference Makers

Our primary goal is to get you the maximum compensation for the death of your loved one. We understand your rights and how to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Our attorneys are not just here to collect a paycheck – we are here to make a difference. Contact us today.

Each year, more than 130,000 wrongful death claims are filed by spouses, children, and parents of the deceased to compensate for their loss. While no money in the world can replace the loss of a loved one, Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws help alleviate some of the financial hardship that surviving family members are facing after the death of their loved one.

However, not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Here at SMA Law Group, our best wrongful death attorneys in Pittsburgh have helped thousands of clients pursue compensation for the death of their loved ones caused by another party’s negligent conduct, dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, medical malpractice, defective products, motor vehicle accidents, and other types of accidents and incidents.

Let’s answer some of the most common questions about wrongful death law in order to understand the following:

  • Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania
  • What’s the statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania
  • What factors might affect your wrongful death case
  • How a Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer can help you

Who’s Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?

Under Pennsylvania law, wrongful death claims can only be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.

Typically, the personal representative is an executor that was named in the deceased’s will. If the deceased died without a will, surviving family members can volunteer to become the personal representative of the estate and thus be eligible to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages. If no one volunteers, the court will appoint someone to represent the estate.

The personal representative eligible to bring a wrongful death claim in a Pennsylvania court never files the claim on his or her own behalf. Rather, the wrongful death is filed on behalf of all eligible beneficiaries who are eligible to receive any amount of wrongful death settlement as part of the court award.

“In Pennsylvania, the only surviving family members who are eligible to be beneficiaries in wrongful death cases are the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and the parents,” says our Pittsburgh wrongful death attorney from SMA Law Group. “To qualify as a beneficiary in a wrongful death claim, the eligible surviving family members must demonstrate that they suffered economic and non-economic damages due to the loss of their loved one.”

What’s the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, if the personal representative of the estate has not pursued a wrongful death claim within six months from the deceased’s death, any qualified beneficiary will be eligible to file it.

In our state, there is a two-year limit from the date of the death to bring a wrongful death claim. Since wrongful death cases tend to be rather complex and it can take years for surviving family members to receive their compensation, it is critical that the process of bringing an action for wrongful death begins as quickly as possible.

What Factors Affect a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and Why You Need a Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Lawyer by Your Side

Pennsylvania wrongful death law does not give an exact figure for how much money eligible beneficiaries can recover as part of their wrongful death claim. That’s because there are many different independent and unique factors that might affect your wrongful death settlement or award.

Our Pittsburgh wrongful death attorney has outlined a few major factors that might affect your compensation in a wrongful death suit:

  • Damages sustained. The value of a wrongful death case has a direct link to the number of damages sustained by each eligible beneficiary after the death of their family member. For example, a wrongful death claim after the death of a 22-year-old unemployed unmarried young man who only had parents might be drastically lower than that filed after the death of a 39-year-old employed married man with four children. Most of the time, beneficiaries can compensate for the loss of future income, loss of companionship, lost benefits, mentoring, and a plethora of other economic and non-economic damages.
  • Insurance coverage. The worth of a wrongful death award or settlement is also affected by how much insurance coverage the wrongful death defendant has. Unfortunately, in many wrongful death lawsuits, the amount of money collected by the surviving family members is limited to the amount of the at-fault party’s available insurance coverage.
  • Evidence. The success and value of a wrongful death lawsuit also depend on the strength of the evidence presented by the claimant in court. The more compelling your evidence, the higher the likelihood of receiving a higher payout faster than anticipated. To collect compelling evidence for your case, it is important to hire a Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer, who will conduct a thorough investigation into your case.
  • Lawyer. The more experienced the lawyer that you hire for your wrongful death case is, the more likely you are to seek maximum compensation for all the damages caused by the death of your loved one.

Get a free case evaluation about your case, and let our legal experts advise you on your best options when filing a wrongful death claim, determine how much your wrongful death claim is worth, and collect sufficient evidence proving that your family has suffered a tremendous amount of damages as a result of the death of your loved one. Call our lawyers at SMA Law Group at 412-765-3345 to discuss your case today.

GET A FREE LEGAL CASE EVALUATION
Tell Us Your Stories and Ask Us Your Questions

Call 412-765-3345 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are available by phone, email or in-person.

SMA Law Group attorneys believe in aggressively representing our clients while maintaining the personal compassion needed when counseling clients through difficult situations and navigating a complex legal system. Contact us today.

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