How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

January 8, 2021

Proving wrongful death is complicated, but the Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Wapner Newman can handle all legal aspects necessary to get you compensation for the loss of your loved one.

Dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one is incredibly difficult, as you will not only be dealing with the emotional grief and trauma, but the financial implications and the worry about how you are going to manage in the future without the love and support of your family member. While there is no way to replace your loved one, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can bring compensation that will ease your financial worries and help you and your family go forward with your lives.

At this difficult time, you may not feel up to filing a lawsuit, but it is important to do so as soon as possible, while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found. The compassionate wrongful death lawyers at Wapner Newman understand what you are going through and will take the burden off you by handling all the legal options in a wrongful death lawsuit and aggressively fighting for justice and the settlement you deserve. While proving wrongful death is not easy, we know the courts and the system and will take every step possible to make your claim a success.

We offer a free consultation to discuss the individual facts of your wrongful death situation and determine the best way to help. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no fees unless and until we win a settlement. Call us today at (215) 569-0900 to get started.

Learn What You Need to Prove Wrongful Death

Before proving wrongful death, you have to be eligible to make a claim. According to Pennsylvania law, wrongful death claims can be brought only by the personal representative of the estate who was named in the deceased’s will or another qualified person who will administer the estate. The courts must approve the representative, who is often a family member. The representative files the claim on behalf of all eligible beneficiaries who can demonstrate that they had financial damages.

In Pennsylvania, relatives who qualify as beneficiaries are the deceased person’s …

  • surviving spouse,
  • children, or
  • parents.

If the personal representative has not filed the wrongful death claim after six months, any eligible beneficiary may file it.

Elements You Must Prove

To win your case, our Wapner Newman wrongful death attorneys must show that the wrongful death occurred due to someone else’s negligence, fault, or unreasonable conduct. Negligence means that the defendant in the case acted contrary to or failed to act the way a reasonable person or medical professional would have acted under the circumstances.

To do so, our attorneys would need to establish the following elements:

  • Duty of care – The defendant owed your loved one a legal duty of care not to cause harm. For example, the duty to drive carefully and obey the rules of the road.
  • Breach of duty – The defendant failed to uphold this duty of care and acted negligently. For example, the defendant may have driven through a red light while under the influence.
  • Cause –The defendant’s negligence caused your loved one’s death.
  • Damages – You sustained actual losses as a result of your loved one’s death.

How our Wrongful Death Attorneys Prove These Elements

When our wrongful death attorneys file a wrongful death claim, we must identify all defendants responsible for the wrongful death and then show evidence that their negligence was the direct cause of the death. In order to prove your case, we:

1. Investigate the accident to determine who was at fault
2. Gather evidence such as police reports, medical records, photos, and videos
3. Interview eyewitnesses
4. Get expert witnesses to reconstruct what happened and testify accordingly
5. Hire experts such as accountants, tax experts, and forensic economists to show how your life and that of your family has been negatively affected by the loss of your loved one and the financial damages that resulted.

The wrongful death lawyers at Wapner Newman will do everything possible to find the responsible parties and prove that their negligence caused the death of your loved one. Call us today at (215) 569-0900.

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death?

According to Title 42, Chapter 83 of the Pennsylvania General Statutes, Section 8301, a wrongful death is one “caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another.” Wrongful death cases may be looked at as a type of personal injury claim made by the representative of the deceased because the deceased could no longer do so.

Wrongful death cases are often brought when someone dies due to circumstances such as:

  • Vehicle crashes caused by a negligent driver, defective auto parts, or dangerous road conditions
  • Defective products that caused injuries even when used as intended
  • Medical malpractice, such as wrong diagnosis or items left in a surgical site
  • Premises that were unsafe or lacking security.

Damages You May Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim

Damage awards for a wrongful death claim may range from the thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the unique circumstances of the case. Our Wapner Newman lawyers may be able to win damages for:

  • Medical expenses related to the accident and subsequent death
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Estate administration
  • Lost wages the deceased would have earned and reasonably contributed toward the support of family members, both present and future
  • Compensation for the loss of comfort, guidance, and household services
  • Spouses may also claim loss of affection, love, and sexual relationship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages may be awarded in rare cases to punish the defendant for actions that were particularly egregious or willful.

You may be able to recover for the deceased’s contributions from the date of the accident to the date of death as well as from the date of death to the end of normal life expectancy.

There is no cap on the amount of damages for a wrongful death claim, except for punitive damages, which cannot exceed two times the amount of compensatory damages.

Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyer in Philadelphia for Help

Our Wapner Newman lawyers can provide you with dependable guidance, a listening ear, and strong legal strategies. We have helped hundreds of clients secure the compensation they are entitled to through our thorough and creative investigative legal solutions. Call us today at (215) 569-0900 so we can start working for you.