RG Injury Law’s Wrongful Death Attorneys Fight for Clients
Wrongful Death Claims After Negligence, Recklessness, Inaction or Malpractice
If you have lost a loved one to a wrongful death and need the best wrongful death lawyers in Lancaster and Leola Pennsylvania, you will be comforted by the compassion, expertise, credentials, and determination for maximum compensation for your loss. Pennsylvania Attorneys Bill Gregory and Chad Rankin have extensive experience working with families who have lost loved ones due to a wrongful death. Wrongful death attorneys are needed when there has been a death due to negligence, recklessness, inaction, or malpractice of another person or business. When a family member is killed as a result of a wrongful death, the dependents are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek wrongful death and survival actions damages. These claims are civil suits that help families recover compensation. Beneficiaries receive monetary damages through a settlement or an award as a result of the defendant’s misconduct. The death can be caused by a personal injury, car crash, slip and fall, defective property, bicycle accident, dog attack, product liability, trucking accident, motorcycle crash, nursing home negligence, or a work injury.
A wrongful death action is necessary when someone dies (Decedent) as a result of the negligence of another person or business. A wrongful death action can be brought on behalf of the estate of the Decedent or by one of the individuals who would be beneficiaries of the wrongful death action.
Wrongful Death – Acting Fast Is Important
A wrongful death case is almost always a big one. Typically, the value of these cases is high. Because so much money could be at stake, the Defendants act fast to defend the case. They hire experts to investigate the fresh evidence. Defendants send out private investigators to get witness statements. The private investigators may even try to sway the testimony or try to persuade the witness not to get involved.
By the time that families are finished with the funeral, the Defendants have already built their defenses. This is why it is so important to get an experienced and hardworking wrongful death attorney involved right away. The attorneys at RG Injury Law have handled hundreds of wrongful death cases. We know what needs to be done, how to get it done, and we start your case right away. Our speed and expertise often offset the early start by the Defendants. We send out our own private investigators and experts to preserve the evidence and develop your case.
Whether the wrongful death case involves an auto accident, trucking accident, pedestrian accident, product defect, dog bite, or nursing home negligence case, we have worked with and know which experts are great at investigating each type of accident. We select only the best experts who testify to jurors in a way that makes sense.
For instance, in auto, trucking, or pedestrian accidents involving wrongful death, RG Injury Law will send out an expert certified in accident reconstruction. The accident reconstruction expert will go the scene to photograph and document the evidence. They will take measurements based on the physical damage and road markings to calculate speed, direction, braking, etc. They will inspect the vehicles involved in the accident for damage and mechanical issues. Many vehicles today have Event Data Recorders (EDR). EDR is what many people refer to as the “black box”. Our experts can preserve and download to the data contained on the EDR. EDR data includes vital information such as time, distance, speed, braking, etc.
Deadline to Bring a Wrongful Death Case
The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania for negligence is two years.
Therefore, any claim for wrongful death and survival must be settled or a suit filed within two years of the date of the alleged negligent conduct. The two-year period may be extended, for instance, when the negligent conduct is concealed or not immediately discoverable.
Wrongful death and survival action claims must be approved by the Courts. The attorneys at RG Injury Law will help you and your family through all steps of the process. We have been down this road far too many times, but our experience will benefit you.
Wrongful Death – Two Different Claims
There are actually two different claims that come from a wrongful death. The first is the wrongful death claim and the second is called the survival action claim. When a case is settled or won in Court, the total recovery must be allocated or split between both claims. Part of the recovery will go through the wrongful death claim and the rest will go through the survival action claim. The allocation between these two claims is very important for two reasons. First, the people who get money from each claim can be different. Second, the money that is allocated into the survival claim must pass through the estate and then must be subject to the inheritance tax laws.
A wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of the Decedent’s heirs. Determining the Decedent’s heirs has nothing to do with the beneficiaries listed in a will. Instead, the beneficiaries are specifically listed in the laws of Pennsylvania. For instance, if the Decedent is survived by a spouse and two children, then the spouse would be entitled to the first $30,000 and one-half of the remaining balance. The remainder would be split evenly between the two children.
In Pennsylvania, a recovery in the wrongful death claim does not pass through the Decedent’s estate and therefore, is not taxable under the inheritance tax laws. This can often save families a significant amount of money when getting a recovery under this claim. For this reason, the attorneys at RG Injury Law work hard to get as much of the recovery as possible put into the wrongful death claim. This involves negotiating with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. After a successful negotiation with Department of Revenue, the attorney must seek Court approval of the overall settlement; including the allocation between the wrongful death and survival actions.
The survival action claim passes through the estate. If the Decedent left a valid will, then those named as beneficiaries under the will can recover under the survival action claim. If the Decedent died without a will, then the survival act beneficiaries will be specifically named under the intestate laws of Pennsylvania.
How Much Are Wrongful Death Cases Worth?
The damages that a family can recover from a wrongful death claim include:
- Hospital expenses, medical expenses, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and estate administration expenses;
- An amount that will fairly and adequately compensate the family of the Decedent for their loss of any contributions they would have received between the time of the death of the Decedent and today.
- Examples include food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, gifts, and entertainment;
- An amount that will fairly and adequately compensate the family for loss of comfort, society, and services; and
- Compensation to children for loss of services decedent would have provided, such as guidance, comfort, and moral upbringing.
The damages that a family/estate can recover in a survival action include:
- Pain and suffering that the Decedent endured from the date of the negligence or accident until the time of death;
- loss of wages or earnings from the date of negligence or accident until the time of death; and
- Loss of the projected future earnings from the date of death throughout their work life expectancy minus personal maintenance expenses.
Many of these recoverable damages are difficult to value. For instance, the loss of services includes more than just the value of household chores. It extends into the profound emotional and psychological losses from the death of a parent or a child.
Our attorneys at RG Injury Law will spend the time and effort necessary to explore the family relationships to discover all aspect of contribution, services, comfort, and guidance that the Decedent provided to the family. We help families put words and pictures to this terrible loss and work at the pace the family desires to make sure the family is comfortable with the legal progress while the family grieves for their loved one.
Our attorneys at RG Injury Law have the knowledge, experience, and compassion to work with the family and maximize your wrongful death recovery.
We encourage people who have been injured to reach out to our legal team and talk with our personal injury attorneys at no cost. We serve clients in Pennsylvania including Lancaster, York, Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Chester, and Philadelphia counties and are available to evaluate your potential wrongful death lawsuit. We never pressure people to become clients, treat you with respect and compassion, and charge nothing to consult with our experienced attorneys. You’ll get our full attention and quick response throughout your case and pay no fee unless we recover money for you. Call Chad Rankin or Bill Gregory at 717.656.5000 as soon as possible after your injury occurs to ensure the highest compensation possible.