Wrongful Death Lawyers in Pittsburgh
Trusted Wrongful Death Lawyers Fight for Justice in Allegheny County and Throughout Western Pennsylvania
Grieving for the loss of a loved one can be a protracted and painful process, and it is one from which many never fully recover. The emotional recovery is made exponentially more difficult when you know or suspect that the death of your loved one was caused by another person’s negligence—and so was entirely preventable. While no amount of money can ever bring back your loved one, pursuing your right to financial compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit can help foster a sense of justice in that the negligent party can be held accountable and you can get the financial compensation you need to protect your family’s future.
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our lawyers have substantial experience handling wrongful death cases and so understand that, in addition to experiencing great sadness, you may also feel angry and helpless because someone else’s careless actions caused the loss of someone so important in your life. Your finances may already be strained if your loved one was the primary income producer in your family. We are here to offer compassion and support as we pursue your right to full compensation so that you can focus on mourning your loss. If you would like to explore your legal right to pursue compensation from the party whose negligence caused your loved one’s death, call or contact our office as soon as possible so that we can begin gathering evidence to support your claim.
Understanding the Wrongful Death Statute in Pennsylvania
Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death law, you are entitled to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from a negligent party whose actions resulted in the death of your spouse, parent or child. Similar to a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages caused by the loss of your loved one, which may include:
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death that were made necessary because of the accident
- Funeral and other burial expenses
- Compensation designed to replace the financial support provided by your loved one (in the form of lost wages or lost earning potential)
- Compensation for loss of consortium or the company of your loved one
- Loss of parenting support
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in some cases
In order to maximize the available compensation in your case, our wrongful death lawyers will work with experts, consult with witnesses and even take steps to ensure that the relevant evidence in your case is preserved by putting potentially responsible parties on notice of their legal obligation to refrain from destroying evidence.
Knowledgeable Wrongful Death Lawyers Pursue Maximum Compensation for Families of Accident Victims in Pittsburgh and Elsewhere in Pennsylvania
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers and investigative staff understand that your family has suffered a great loss and we are here to take on the burden of getting justice by securing the maximum compensation possible in your case. In Pennsylvania, you may have the right to pursue compensation based upon the wrongful death of a loved one in any type of accident caused by another person or organization’s negligence, including:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Fires and explosions
- Accidents caused by defective products
Regardless of the type of accident that caused your loved one’s death, you need a strong advocate in your corner. If you have already attempted negotiations with the insurance companies, you may understand the complications and frustration that can arise if you are faced with a lowball settlement offer or an insurance agent who simply fails to respond to your inquiries. At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., we are experienced in negotiating with these insurance companies and corporations—who know that, based on our reputation and track record of success, we are not willing to back down and will explore every alternative to securing maximum compensation for our clients.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation to Discuss Options for Recovering Compensation Via a Wrongful Death Claim in Western Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, the statute of limitations (or time limit) for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Pennsylvania is only two years in most cases. While this may seem like a fairly generous time frame, it remains important to consult with a lawyer as early as possible in order to ensure that we have access to the strongest possible evidence to support your claim. Our experienced Pittsburgh-area wrongful death lawyers are here to provide you with a free initial case evaluation to discuss options for recovering compensation in your case, so call us or fill out this online contact form today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Claims in Allegheny County and Across Western Pennsylvania
Although no amount of money can every fully compensate you for the loss of a loved one, if someone else’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, financial compensation can help you move forward.
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our trusted wrongful death lawyers have over 50 years’ combined experience helping families move forward after the loss of a loved one. We know it can be hard to know where to turn to protect your rights. We have answered some questions that our clients frequently ask about Pittsburgh wrongful death claims below. To get more specific information, call or contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit claiming compensation from someone whose negligence caused your loved one’s accident. It allows a surviving spouse, children or even the personal representative of your loved one’s estate to recover compensation similar to what would be available in a personal injury lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits essentially provide a way for surviving loved ones to pursue compensation when the injured party is no longer able to do so.
A wrongful death lawsuit is usually filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate on behalf of the deceased person’s spouse, children or parents, who are the parties who will recover compensation. If the personal representative fails to file a lawsuit within six months of death, the beneficiaries themselves may file suit. In some cases, however, the decedent’s estate itself may file a lawsuit for compensation on behalf of the deceased individual, although this type of lawsuit is often referred to as a survival action. In other words, the estate is entitled to pursue a lawsuit for compensation for all expenses incurred because of the accident and death (medical expenses, funeral expenses, administrative expenses) even if the deceased was not survived by children, parents or a spouse.
The elements for recovering compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to personal injury cases. That means it is necessary to prove that someone was negligent and caused an accident in which your loved one sustained injuries that led to his or her death.
In wrongful death cases, it is important to first consult with a lawyer who has experience in these cases and so understands all available types of compensation to which you may be entitled. In many cases, the insurance company might offer to pay fully for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident, and may even offer to pay for your out-of-pocket expenses related to the funeral and administration of the estate. While this may seem generous, you are really entitled to significantly more in wrongful death cases—including compensation to reflect the loss of your loved one’s presence in your life, both financially and emotionally.
The personal injury lawsuit survives your loved one’s death—meaning that his or her heirs will receive the compensation. Our lawyers may also modify the claim to request additional compensation based on the fact that the injuries were fatal—assuming your loved one died because of the same accident involved in the personal injury lawsuit.
The personal injury lawsuit still survives. The personal representative or estate executor can continue to recover compensation even though your loved one’s death was caused by something unrelated to the original claim.
The level of compensation will depend upon a number of factors, including your loved one’s life expectancy and earning capacity. A fair compensation award should include:
– All of your loved one’s medical expenses related to the injury that caused his or her death,
– Lost wages,
– Lost future earning potential,
– Funeral and burial costs,
– Loss of a pension and other employment benefits,
– Loss of services (such as the service of raising a child) in the home,
– Pain and suffering,
– Damages to account for the loss of your loved one’s company and support.
The answer depends upon the circumstances surrounding the accident. If your loved one was an employee, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits (which provide a funeral & burial benefit, as well as a portion of lost wages for a surviving spouse and minor children). Surviving spouses can generally continue to receive benefits until they remarry and for two years after remarriage. If a non-employer caused the accident, we may also be able to recover additional compensation by filing a third-party claim for compensation like pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Wrongful death lawsuits are generally based upon negligence. However, intentional acts can also be dealt with via the wrongful death lawsuit process. The primary difference is the standard of proof required to prove your case. In a wrongful death case, the family is seeking financial compensation via a civil lawsuit, while a criminal action can carry jail time and other criminal penalties. The standard of proof is the much lower “preponderance of the evidence” threshold in a civil case, while the more difficult “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard applies in criminal prosecution.
Yes. You can recover compensation for the loss of your spouse’s contributions to the household, the loss of company, pain and suffering and more. The fact that your spouse didn’t have any lost wages is not relevant to your right to bring a claim for compensation via a wrongful death suit.
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., we handle all types of wrongful death claims. Some of the most common types of accidents leading to wrongful death include:
– Car accidents,
– Truck accidents,
– Motorcycle accidents,
– Pedestrian accidents,
– Construction accidents,
– Medical malpractice,
– Work-related accidents,
– Nursing home abuse & neglect.
Regardless of how your loved one died, we are here to help you explore your right to financial compensation when that death was caused by someone else’s actions.
Even if it seems like a clear-cut case, complications often arise in wrongful death cases—not the least of which is the fact that your loved one’s side of the story may be missing from the evidence. Our lawyers will handle every aspect of your case, including:
– Investigating to determine what happened to cause the accident,
– Advancing the costs associated with hiring experts to testify,
– Making sure all of the detailed procedural and court requirements are satisfied,
– Negotiating with the insurance company to make sure you get the full amount of compensation you deserve,
– Advocating on your behalf at trial if necessary.
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death.
Yes and no. Within the first six months of death, the personal representative of your loved one’s estate is entitled to file a lawsuit. After six months have passed, the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Schedule Your Free Case Review with the Trusted Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Lawyers at Goodrich & Geist, P.C.
The time following the loss of a loved one is traumatic and simple acts of life may seem overwhelming. At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our experienced Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyers are here to protect your financial future while you focus on taking care of yourself and your family. To schedule a free case review, call or contact our office today.