Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney
In most personal injury cases, the victim can sue for damages, including medical expenses, the cost of subsequent medical treatments or additional surgeries, physical therapy, prescription medications, pain and suffering, and lost wages from missed time at work. Unfortunately, some victims die because of another person’s carelessness. In those circumstances, their surviving loved ones may wish to pursue a wrongful death claim against those responsible.
Wrongful death cases are similar to other personal injury lawsuits, but the victim’s family may also pursue compensation for the money their departed loved one would have provided to the family between the time of death and the end of his or her life expectancy.
This does not only extend to financial recompense for lost paychecks – the victim’s family can also claim damages for the services the departed would have provided to them, including guidance and moral upbringing of children.
Why Choose Our Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorneys?
The entire team at the Ciccarelli Law Offices understands that this is a difficult time for you and your family. You need a firm by your side that recognizes the gravity of wrongful death cases. This firm was founded by Lee Ciccarelli with the goal of creating a practice devoted to its clients.
- When you come to the Ciccarelli Law Offices, you are getting decades of experience on your side, which is invaluable in a wrongful death case.
- Lee Ciccarelli has extensive experience with personal injury and wrongful death claims. He understands the tactics used by the other side and will be ready to fight back.
- The team at the Ciccarelli Law Offices will vigorously negotiate on your behalf and will be ready to take your case to trial if a fair settlement is not offered.
- Lee Ciccarelli says that the foundation of this firm is integrity, passion, and experience; all qualities needed to win the toughest legal battles.
One client said of the firm, “Appreciated everyone’s guidance and support at Ciccarelli Law Offices and everyone played a vital role on my behalf. Lee and his office calmed my anxiety and everyone’s professionalism was way beyond what I expected. Thank you again. I recommend this firm to everyone. I rate them an A+ firm.”
What is the Compensation for Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
In the aftermath of losing a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, you will be looking for closure. While we recognize that no amount of money will erase what happened, a wrongful death lawsuit can help bring accountability to wrongdoers and closure for you.
Compensation for wrongful death claims is available and comes from two separate laws – the Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Act.
- Wrongful Death Act. This law provides for a few different kinds of compensation to family members of the deceased. This includes:
- Coverage of medical expenses, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and estate administration expenses.
- The amount of money that will adequately and fairly compensate the family members of the deceased for contributions they would have received between the time of death of their loved one and when the end of that person’s expected life expectancy. This would include money that the deceased would have spent or given his family for things like shelter, food, medical care, education, entertainment, gifts, recreation, and clothing.
- Coverage for the pecuniary value of services, society, and comfort that the deceased would have given to their family members had they lived. This can include things like work they would have done around the house, society and comfort, physical comforts and services, etc.
- Survival Act. This law allows for a personal representative of the deceased’s estate to recover damages the decedent would have gained had they otherwise survived. This can include the following:
- Pain and suffering that resulted from the negligent party’s actions.
- Net earnings that a person would have made in their lifetime, had they not died. This includes the total expected gross income as well as fringe benefits a person would have earned from their date of death to the end of their life expectancy.
- This amount will be deducted from the amount the decedent would have given to their family during their lifetime (already awarded to in the wrongful death claim) as well as the amount the decedent would have spent on their personal maintenance during their lifetime (food, shelter, clothing, etc.).
- This act also allows for the recovery of mental and physical pain and suffering damages the person endured during the moment of their injury to the moment they died as a result of the negligent actions of the other party.
Factors that might affect compensation
No two wrongful death cases are the same, so there is no way to say you will receive “X” amount of money for this case. There are a variety of factors that go into each case, and the amount of compensation will be affected by these.
- The type of accident or intentional act that caused the victim’s fatal injuries.
- The circumstances surrounding the death.
- The age of the victim as well as their potential future earning potential.
- How long the victim survived after sustaining the injuries that ultimately caused their death. If there was a lengthy survival period, they would have incurred more medical expenses.
- How much insurance the at-fault party holds. This can vary depending on who the negligent party is. Sometimes, the at-fault party is an individual, while in other cases, it is a company or other entity. Individuals who cause a death due to a car accident may not have a large insurance policy, while corporations will likely have higher limits.
Some other factors that might affect compensation include:
- The total damages suffered due to the death of a loved one. A case involving an employed mother of three who dies will be different than a single male in his 50’s with no children.
- The evidence in the case will determine how much liability the other party has in the incident. Sometimes a wrongful death case will result in a person being charged and convicted criminally as well. In these cases, the evidence is strong, and the other side may wish to settle. However, there does not have to be a criminal case in order for there to be a civil wrongful death claim. In those instances, your attorney will have to investigate the case and ensure the evidence is strong.
- An experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can dramatically affect the outcome of a case. Due to the complexity of these cases, it is important that you have a lawyer by your side who can thoroughly investigate your claims and is a skilled negotiator.
There are several ways in which these cases arise, and each brings a different set of factors to how these cases are approached:
- Impaired driver crashes
- Distracted driver crashes
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective product incidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Commercial trucking accident
- Boating accidents
- Slip and fall / premises accidents
Each of these causes of wrongful death will require your attorney to investigate and communicate with multiple parties, including those accused of negligence, their insurance carriers, their legal teams, and more. How your attorney handles these issues can affect the outcome of the case and the compensation amount.
How to Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
As with other personal injury claims, the plaintiff (in wrongful death cases, the plaintiff will usually be a loved one or appointed representative of the deceased) must prove negligence on the part of the defendant. This involves establishing three things as true:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty to act with reasonable care. This may mean an employer’s obligation to furnish employees with a workplace free of hazards or dangerous conditions or a motor vehicle operator who should know to follow traffic laws.
- The plaintiffs breached this duty by some action or inaction. If an employer knew about a workplace hazard and failed to address it in a timely manner and the hazard results in an employee’s death at no fault of the employee, then the employer may be responsible for the victim’s death.
- This breach of duty directly resulted in the victim’s death. The death of victim may not always be immediate. In some cases, the victim may contract an illness or suffer from serious injuries from which they cannot recover, and they ultimately die. If a court determines they died due to injuries sustained from the defendant’s negligence, the court will hold the defendant accountable for the victim’s death.
While this may seem like a straightforward process, wrongful death cases can quickly become complicated when victims die immediately from the circumstances of their fatal incident, or if they are otherwise unable to provide testimony before their death. In some situations, a victim may suffer for a prolonged period after their incident, and cannot recover. The cost of ongoing, critical medical treatment can be astronomical.
Dealing with the death of a loved one or family member is never easy for anyone. Wrongful death cases can make an already difficult situation even more stressful. To obtain justice and fair compensation for the victim’s death, the surviving family members will have to gather documentation to prove their expenses, the financial security that their deceased loved one would have provided had he or she survived, and myriad other pieces of evidence.
How much does a wrongful death attorney charge?
We understand that you may be concerned about how much money a Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney may cost. At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, we strive to provide legal service to people in need at a reasonable fee.
When permissible, we provide legal services on a contingency fee basis for personal injury and wrongful death claims. This means that we do not get paid unless our clients get paid. Our fee comes from a percentage of the final settlement paid to the client. This percentage is arranged in a contract before we begin with the case. Our clients face no out-of-pocket costs during the case.
Professional Legal Assistance in Philadelphia
This process is arduous and having reliable, compassionate legal representation will make the process much more bearable. The legal professionals at Ciccarelli Law Offices have extensive experience with personal injury and wrongful death cases in the Philadelphia area, and we work tirelessly on behalf of our clients.
The surviving loved ones of someone who wrongfully died should be given time to mourn and readjust to their lives. The legal issues of wrongful death cases are complex, so turn to an attorney who will explore every possible avenue for compensation and who will hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices if you have any questions about wrongful death law or want to start reviewing a case today.