What to Do if a Family Member Dies in a Car Accident in Pennsylvania

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    Car accident deaths cause irreparable damage to victims’ surviving family members. If your family member recently died in a car crash in Pennsylvania, our lawyers can help you get justice on their behalf.

    When victims immediately die from car accident injuries, the police should be notified to document the incident. Our lawyers can get the resulting police report to learn more details about the accident that caused the victim’s death. If the victim died days or weeks after the accident, get their medical records showing their injuries. Our attorneys can also explain which of the victim’s survivors is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Once we determine fault and prepare a strong case, we can help you bring your claim within the two-year timeframe for car accident wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania.

    You can call The Reiff Law Firm’s Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at (215) 709-6940 to get a free case assessment today.

    What to Do After Your Family Member Dies in a Car Accident in Pennsylvania

    After a fatal car accident that causes the death of a loved one, our lawyers can explain the next steps so you that you and your family know how to proceed.

    It’s mandatory to inform the authorities of any fatal auto accident in Pennsylvania under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3746(a). Not all car accidents are fatal initially, as some victims succumb to their injuries at a later date. Sudden-death car accidents are typically serious and happen at high speeds on highways or other dangerous areas.

    Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers can help you get the police report for a fatal car accident in the following days. This report will include the at-fault driver’s name as well as other information our lawyers may need about the crash, like its location, date, and time.

    Though emotionally taxing, you should also obtain your family member’s medical records. If they passed away in the weeks or months following the accident, our lawyers must prove causation through their medical records.

    When discussing your case, our attorneys can explain the differences between wrongful death claims and survival actions for car accident fatalities in Pennsylvania and whether or not you should file them concurrently.

    A wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate to compensate the victim for their losses. In contrast, a survival action is brought on behalf of the victim’s survivors to compensate them for their losses due to the victim’s death. Damages awarded in either type of claim will go to the victim’s beneficiaries, like their spouse and children.

    Should You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Fatal Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

    If, after the trauma of losing a family member and mourning that loss, survivors turn their attention to getting justice, our lawyers can help them file a wrongful death lawsuit against an at-fault driver in Pennsylvania.

    Damages in wrongful death lawsuits can compensate survivors for losses related to the victim’s death. For example, if the victim was a primary earner for your family, you can recover compensation for economic loss to your family. Furthermore, survivors can recover compensation for the loss of society, services, and comfort from the victim.

    42 Pa.C.S. § 8301(c) also allows the recovery of special damages for reasonable medical, hospital, nursing, and funeral expenses. Furthermore, survivors can recover damages for expenses of administration, which are costs associated with handling the legal and administrative aspects of a victim’s death.

    As your family incurs losses due to the victim’s death, document them so that our lawyers can submit proof of damages during your case.

    Not only can filing a wrongful death lawsuit result in financial recovery for your family, but it can also allow you to take your case to court and hold the negligent party responsible for your loved one’s death.

    When to File a Lawsuit for a Family Member’s Death in Pennsylvania

    Plaintiffs must file wrongful death lawsuits for fatal car accidents within a specific timeframe in Pennsylvania. Understanding how the statute of limitations applies to your case is crucial, as missing it could stop your claim in its tracks.

    Under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(2) the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the victim’s death. This means that, if the victim died weeks or months after the car accident, the clock would begin counting down from that date, not the date of the car accident.

    The delayed discovery rule might apply to some cases where the cause of death was not reasonably discoverable at an earlier date. It can be hard to prove delayed discovery to extend the statute of limitations for fatal car accident lawsuits, but is possible in certain situations.

    The damages caused by a fatal car accident are clear almost immediately. Our lawyers can quickly calculate your loved one’s financial contribution to your family and explain the multitude of other losses you have incurred since their passing. We can help you bring your claim soon after the accident so that you do not unintentionally miss the filing deadline for wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania.

    Beneficiaries of Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Claims for Fatal Car Accidents

    Only certain family members are eligible beneficiaries of wrongful death claims for fatal car accidents in Pennsylvania.

    Under 42 Pa.C.S. § 8301(b), damages awarded in wrongful death claims are for the benefit of a victim’s spouse, children, and parents. However, if the victim has no survivors, their personal representative can bring a claim to recover certain damages for their estate.

    Our lawyers can explain how compensation awarded in your case might be divided between you and the victim’s other survivors.

    Call Our Pennsylvania Lawyers About Your Case Today

    The Reiff Law Firm’s Gladwyne, PA car accident lawyers can discuss your case for free when you call (215) 709-6940.

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    Philadelphia, PA 19102
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