Bucks County Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one tragically can lead to an overwhelming family crisis. Family members left behind must not only cope with their grief, but are also faced with medical and funeral expenses. If your family lost a loved one to a preventable accident, a Bensalem wrongful death attorney at Wilk Law could help.
At Wilk Law, our wrongful death attorneys will answer your wrongful death questions during a free consultation and help set your mind at ease about the future. We understand the pain and desire for justice families have when losing their loved one to someone else’s negligence.
Wilk Law’s Bucks County wrongful death attorneys are:
- Skilled and experienced in all facets of wrongful death law in Pennsylvania;
- Recognized for legal excellence; and
- Prompt and responsive to family member’s needs.
Let Wilk Law handle your wrongful death claim, so your family can grieve and return to your lives as best as possible. Contact us today at (855) 946-3678 for your free, confidential consultation.
Our Bucks County Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
If you are considering handling your wrongful death claim in Bensalem, take a moment and speak with an attorney. There is no charge for a wrongful death claim evaluation at Wilk Law, so you have nothing to lose if you decide to come in and consult a professional.
There are numerous reasons you need to retain a wrongful death attorney, including, but not limited to:
- Of all the Bensalem personal injury claims, wrongful death claims are one of the most complex;
- Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and attorneys working on their behalf;
- The insurance company is not on your side. It represents its pocketbook and its shareholders;
- Proving a wrongful death claim takes extensive legal knowledge;
- Calculating a fair and proper settlement amount takes a team of experts in a wrongful death claim.
Wilk Law’s wrongful death attorneys in Bucks County use all of their training and knowledge to build and support your claim. Whenever possible, we settle your claim during negotiations for a fair and just amount with the insurance company. If it is in your best interests, the wrongful death attorneys at Wilk Law will take your case to court and trial.
What Is Wrongful Death in Bensalem?
In Pennsylvania wrongful death cases, there are two types of claims the personal representative of an estate can file to recover damages on behalf of the deceased and the deceased’s loved ones. These are wrongful death claims and survival actions.
Wrongful death is a death due to the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity’s negligence. Wrongful death is a civil legal action, not a criminal legal action, although a criminal action may run simultaneously.
Compensation available in a wrongful death claim includes the following:
- Economic loss to the family;
- Loss of services;
- Loss of companionship and comfort;
- Loss of guidance; and
- Emotional and psychological loss.
Pennsylvania limits a wrongful death award to the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased in order of intestacy law.
What Are The Most Common Bensalem Wrongful Death Cases?
Unfortunately, thousands of circumstances can lead to wrongful death lawsuits. When a person, business, or other entity is at fault for someone’s death, filing a wrongful death claim is warranted. If you are unsure about fault or negligence involving the death of your loved one, contact us immediately for a free consultation. We can help ensure your family’s financial security while you grieve and give you the legal counsel necessary for your recovery.
Wrongful death cases can include:
- Drunk or reckless driving
- Car accidents
- Defective products
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip & fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace injury leading to death
- Negligent construction
- Nursing home or daycare abuse or neglect
What Is a Survival Action?
In a survival action, the personal representative brings a claim for damages the deceased person could have brought had he or she lived. Fees and costs for burial and estate administration are available in a survival action.
These include compensation for:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Estate administration fees; and
- Burial and funeral expenses.
Compensation for a survival action goes to the deceased’s estate. It then goes to pay any outstanding expenses of the estate. Afterward, remaining funds pass to heirs through the probate process or are divided according to the will.
Time Limit to File Your Wrongful Death Claim
It is crucial for family members and the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file these lawsuits in court. In Pennsylvania, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. In the event the claim is not filed with the court within this two-year timeframe, it is very likely that it will be dismissed. This will leave the estate and the surviving family members unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
Additionally, if there are any insurance carriers involved in the case, they will very likely have their own deadlines in place. For example, if the death occurs as a result of a vehicle accident, most auto insurance carriers require that an incident be reported within a day or two after it occurs. Failing to follow insurance carrier deadlines could also result in a claim delay or denial.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Bucks County?
In some states around the country, surviving family members are the ones responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in court. That is not the case in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The personal representative, often referred to as the executor, of the deceased individual’s estate is responsible for filing the wrongful death claim in court.
However, if the personal representative fails to file the wrongful death claim within six months from the date of death, any of the deceased individual’s beneficiaries are allowed to file a claim on behalf of all of the other beneficiaries.
Will You Have to go to Court?
Individuals often wonder what happens throughout the course of a wrongful death claim, namely whether or not they will have to go to court. The reality is that most wrongful death cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers in Pennsylvania. However, insurance carriers can drag their feet, and they may even deny the claim altogether.
In the event an insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair amount of compensation, or if they deny the claim, it may be necessary for the estate of the deceased to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit in court. When this occurs, the case moves into the court system, and the discovery process begins. However, just because a case is in the court system does not necessarily mean the family members or their attorney will have to go make their case in front of a jury. The discovery process is extensive, and there will likely be negotiations back and forth between both parties to try and reach a settlement before a jury trial becomes necessary.
However, if the at-fault party and their legal team refuse any settlement, the case may end up in front of a jury. This could take years to occur. We strongly encourage you to work with your wrongful death lawyer to understand the timeframes associated with your case and determine the best steps moving forward.
What if a Person is Facing Criminal Charges?
It is certainly possible for the at-fault party to face criminal charges for the death of your loved one. That does not always occur, but it could happen. Prosecutors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are responsible for filing criminal charges against individuals, not family members or the estate of the deceased. This is a separate court system, not the civil court system. The same individual can still face a civil wrongful death claim from the estate or beneficiaries. It is possible for a person to face both criminal charges and a civil wrongful death claim for the same death.
Additionally, even if a person is found not guilty in a criminal court for causing a death, they could still be held liable for the death through a civil wrongful death claim. In fact, that person does not even have to face criminal charges. The estate can file a wrongful death claim anyway.
Steps You Can Take Today After Losing a Loved One
There are various steps that you can take after losing a loved one to move your claim in the right direction.
- Contact an attorney. You should consider contacting a wrongful death lawyer in Bucks County as soon as possible. An attorney who takes your case will handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf. This will include conducting a full investigation into the incident and handling all communication with other parties involved. An attorney will lighten your burden.
- Take time to grieve. You and your family need to take time to process what has happened. It is crucial for you to make the funeral and burial plans necessary for you to properly grieve the loss of your loved one. If you rush too quickly to try and solve what happened, you may get overwhelmed. Allow yourself some time to breathe.
- Keep all documents and evidence. We encourage you to keep all evidence or documents related to the loss of your loved one. This may include accident reports, hospital records, police reports, statements from eyewitnesses to the incident, photographs, video surveillance, and more. Even if you think something is not relevant, keep it somewhere safe and make sure your attorney gets to examine it.
- Keep track of expenses. We encourage you to keep track of every expense you and your family incur as a result of the loss of your loved one. This includes medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, travel expenses, and more. We also encourage you to keep track of whether or not you have to hire someone to handle housework or repairs that your loved one would have handled, had they lived.
- Print bank statements and keep financial records. We want you to keep all bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and any other proof of income for your loved one. This will help when determining financial compensation amounts while the wrongful death claim is ongoing.
Contact a Bucks County Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you have questions about being a personal representative in a wrongful death or survival action or filing a claim on behalf of your loved one in Pennsylvania, ask an attorney for guidance. These claims are legally complex and need an experienced Bucks County wrongful death attorney, like ours at Wilk Law.
Wilk Law wants to meet with you and discuss the facts of your claim. Our attorneys are empathetic and compassionate, yet we are aggressive in holding negligent parties responsible for the harm they cause. If money is an issue, Wilk Law takes cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only charge legal fees when we win compensation for you. Contact Wilk Law today at (855) 946-3678.