Photo of Edward P. Shaughnessy
Photo of Edward P. Shaughnessy

Who can sue for wrongful death in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Injuries |

Death is inevitable. However, you can never prepare enough for a loved one’s death. The pain and devastation become unbearable when a loved one’s death could have been prevented.

 If a loved one dies as a result of another person or entity’s unlawful or illegal actions, you may pursue the liable party for damages through a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are basically designed to recover expenses such as medical bills if the victim spent days in hospital before succumbing to their injuries, funeral and burial expenses, loss of income if you were financially dependent on the victim and loss of companionship among other damages. 

Who can bring a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania?

While a loved one’s death can impact several people, Pennsylvania law restricts who may bring a claim. Per Pennsylvania statute, only the decedent’s surviving spouse, children or parents may sue for monetary damages following a loved one’s wrongful death. And the person bringing the lawsuit does not have to be a resident of the state. 

What happens if the decedent is not survived by any of these?

When the victim has no surviving beneficiary who qualifies to bring a claim, their estate’s personal representative will be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The awarded damages would then go to the victim’s estate. 

For instance, the estate’s personal representative may sue to recover the monies that were spent on the victim’s medical bills as well as funeral and burial expenses. They may also seek administrative expenses that were occasioned by the victim’s injury and death. 

Protecting your rights and interests

Death under any circumstance can be overwhelming. When a loved one’s death was wrongful, you have the right to hold the liable party accountable. Learning more about Pennsylvania’s wrongful laws can help you protect your rights and interests while pursuing a wrongful death claim.