Wrongful Death Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA
Wrongful death cases arise from a negligent act or omission that causes a person’s death. Wrongful death can be the result of a wide range of incidents, such as medical malpractice, construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents, unsafe premises, defective products, unsafe workplaces, nursing home abuse, child abuse, or any other negligent act.
While many people have an “it could never happen to me” mentality when it comes to these kinds of tragedies, they are more common than many people might think. For example:
- In 2017, there were 38,659 unintentional motor vehicle traffic accident deaths in the United States, making an average more than 105 every day. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm)
- In 2017, the U.S. saw 52.2 unintentional injuries per 100,000 people (Source: https://www.cdc.govnchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm)
When a wrongful death occurs, it is extremely important to have a skilled and passionate lawyer to support the victim’s family and fight for their legal rights. At Rizio, Hamilton & Kane, P.C, our accident attorneys make themselves available to their clients at all times and value an open attorney-client relationship. Our firm works to ensure that all Rizio, Hamilton & Kane, P.C clients are properly guided and zealously represented in order to procure a successful settlement or verdict.
We fight for the justice that you and your loved ones deserve.
Wrongful death and survival action claims are brought by the surviving relatives of the deceased, generally the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents. These relatives can recover compensation for multiple types of expenses, including medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, loss of future income, lost benefits and loss of future benefits, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Minor children may also recover for loss of love and affection, care, guidance, parenting, and support. If the surviving relatives of the deceased feel that their relative was a victim of wrongful death, they should seek a personal injury lawyer to assist them with their potential case.
Losing a loved one is a painful, stressful, trying ordeal. During this time, let us help you. Call us for your FREE and confidential consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. We are well versed in wrongful death cases. We know how to investigate these cases and how to collect valuable evidence used to prove your case in New Jersey and Philadelphia. We also know how to help you raise an estate and how to help you through this very difficult and emotional process. We will fight to get justice for your loved one, and we aim to get you every dollar you deserve.
If you need a lawyer in the Philadelphia or New Jersey area that is knowledgeable in handling wrongful death cases, our experienced law firm can help you. To meet with a lawyer from Rizio, Hamilton & Kane, P.C., contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation. We handle cases in a region that includes the surrounding counties of NJ, and we also serve Northeast Philadelphia, Darby, Upper Darby, Bridesburg, Fishtown, Port Richmond and Bucks County.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a wrongful death case take?
On average, wrongful death lawsuits can take anywhere from one to four years, but some are settled in a matter of months while others may be drawn out for more than four years. Pursuing a wrongful death case without an attorney can often lead to an unsuccessful outcome, because without a team of legal professionals, people often accept settlements from insurance companies that are much lower than their case is worth.
Insurance companies protect themselves financially with these “lowball offers”, taking advantage of injured parties by settling out of court, often before the families of wrongful death victims can fully assess the extent of the compensation they deserve. Instead of acting on your own, it is in your best interest to consult a professional legal team before even considering an offer from an insurance company.
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations requires that a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the deceased person’s date of death.
Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Typically, someone acting as a representative of the estate of the victim (the deceased) will file the claim on behalf of affected parties, particularly surviving family members, against the legally liable party. Family members (surviving spouse, children, or parents) may sue for losses that are not directly finance-related, such as losses of comfort and companionship. Surviving children, meanwhile, may also be entitled to compensation for loss of love and affection, care, guidance, parenting, and support.
If there are no surviving children, parents, or spouse, the representative may sue for damages, such as expenses from the funeral, medical expenses, or estate administration.
How do you prove wrongful death?
In order to be successful, a wrongful death claim must prove all of the following four facts:
- The deceased victim’s death was a direct result of a particular incident.
- This incident, and the resulting death, were the direct result of the defendant’s negligence.
- The victim’s death had a direct impact on his or her surviving parties (i.e., family members).
- These survivors have experienced negative financial consequences as a result of the death.
Can a family member sue for wrongful death?
Under Pennsylvania law, the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim.
How much is a wrongful death suit worth?
The value of a wrongful death suit can vary from low to high. When a wrongful death claim goes to court, the jury does not decide on the value of the settlement. Rather, the accident attorney will propose an amount, calculated beforehand, of which the jury must determine the justification. This proposed amount will be based on lost wages, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering (the “comfort,” “companionship,” and “guidance” referenced earlier).
Can you sue a doctor for wrongful death?
If medical malpractice can be proven, a physician or hospital can be sued for wrongful death. In such cases, as in all wrongful death claims, some form of negligence or deviation from the standard of care must be proven. This may include misdiagnosis, improper prescription or medication administration, mistakes during surgery, or negligence that affected a pregnancy or birth.
Suing a hospital might include not only identifying physicians as responsible for the death, but also nurses and other healthcare providers, as well as the hospital’s administrators who hired and supervised employees and the maintenance of its equipment.
In Pennsylvania, suing a physician or hospital is often difficult due to the state’s malpractice laws:
- A certificate of merit must be obtained before filing any medical malpractice lawsuit, which requires a written statement from a licensed professional that there is a reasonable probability that the defendant medical professional’s care, skill or knowledge fell outside the acceptable standard of care AND that such conduct was a cause in bringing about the harm (or death in wrongful death cases) to the victim.
While we can never guarantee results, we can point to past results as an example of our proven track record. We have successfully achieved settlements valued in the millions in cases of medical malpractice and wrongful death.
How We Can Help
As we said earlier, if your loved one’s life ended due to wrongful death, you may have already heard from an insurance company offering a settlement. It may be tempting to save time and avoid the possibility of a long, drawn-out legal process by accepting this offer. But this is often the worst thing you can do because, in most cases, this offer will not achieve justice for your family.
Instead of accepting this settlement, contact legal professionals who can assess the case and its potential for a wrongful death claim. We will investigate to determine whether we can prove negligence, causation and the other essential elements of a wrongful death claim. And we’ll work relentlessly to bring justice to your family by proving that the guilty party was, in fact, responsible for your loved one’s death.
Wrongful death can take many forms, including:
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
- Defective products
- Unsafe workplaces
- Nursing home abuse
- Child abuse
We have years of experience in the area of wrongful death, as well as many other practice areas, and although reviewing the details of a loved one’s death will never be pleasant, we strive to minimize your family’s pain and suffering throughout the preparation process.
To take the first step toward justice, get a free consultation from Rizio, Hamilton & Kane, P.C.