Wrongful death lawsuits are brought against a defendant who has caused someone's death either negligently or through intentional harm. These claims allow the estate of the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death.
Attorney Christopher B. Slusser said Northeast Pennsylvania residents do have more than one option for filing wrongful death lawsuits.
In Pennsylvania, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file wrongful death claims. That representative brings the suit to court on behalf of the deceased person’s beneficiaries. However, if the personal representative does not file the wrongful death claim within six months of the date of death, any of the beneficiaries may file the claim on behalf of all the beneficiaries.
A wrongful death claim differs from a criminal case, which is filed by the prosecuting attorney in the county or other jurisdiction. These suits allow the decedent’s representative to sue for civil damages including grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.
The personal representative brings the suit under his or her own name, but any amount he or she recovers is held in a special trust for disbursement to all the designated beneficiaries. Examples of designated beneficiaries include: immediate family members such as spouses and children, distant family members such as siblings and grandparents, parents of a deceased fetus, domestic or life partners, and financial dependents and those who suffer financially as a result of the death.
The Slusser Law Firm is prepared to help all residents of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon, Columbia and Schuylkill County handle every aspect of their wrongful death lawsuits.