Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyer
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Help Win Compensation
Losing a loved one is always tragic, but when the death was needless and caused by the negligence of another, it is especially difficult to bear. After a wrongful death, families lose more than a loved one. They are robbed of a future and a pillar of support in their lives. Families can face unthinkable challenges and are often put in an impossible financial situation. It’s only natural to experience fear and grief, as well as anger at the parties responsible for your loss.
If you have lost a loved one in this tragic manner, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, fair compensation can bring a sense of justice, pay bills such as medical expenses and funeral costs, and remove your financial burdens to help you and your family rebuild your lives.
Pennsylvania wrongful death laws are complicated, and, at this difficult time, a lawsuit is not something you want to deal with alone. Fortunately, there is help available from the compassionate Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Wapner Newman. Our firm has extensive experience helping families who have tragically suffered the wrongful death of a loved one, and we understand what you are going through. Let us handle all the legal hurdles, paperwork, negotiations, and court appearances involved with getting justice and compensation, so you can concentrate on your family’s needs and recovery.
OUR EXPERIENCED WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS HAVE A HISTORY OF WINNING. THE TEAM AT WAPNER NEWMAN OBTAINED THE LARGEST INJURY SETTLEMENT IN THE HISTORY OF PENNSYLVANIA WITH $227 MILLION WON FOR OUR CLIENTS.
If you and your family have lost a loved one because of someone else’s wrongdoing or carelessness, you have the opportunity to seek justice. Contact Wapner Newman at (215) 569-0900 to speak to one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys today. We help clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Work for You
Why Choose Us?
Having the right wrongful death attorney on your side can make a major difference in the outcome of your case. There are many attorneys out there, and it’s important to find the right one for you. Here are some reasons why we believe you can’t do better than Wapner Newman:
- We have extensive trial experience and we get results.
- We have won millions of dollars for our clients, including a $45 million verdict for an abuse victim and a $227 million settlement for deaths caused by a Market Street building collapse.
- Our managing partner, Marc G. Brecher, has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer since 2004, and is listed among the top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review.
- We have the knowledge, connections, and resources to conduct a full investigation into your case and hire experts to testify on your behalf.
- We offer free initial consultations to get you started.
- We treat our clients like family, as you can see by their testimonials.
When you hire our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers, we will get to work for you immediately, aggressively fighting for justice and the settlement you deserve. We will:
- Evaluate your case to determine how the death occurred to see if a wrongful death case is warranted, what it may be worth, and what parties may be responsible
- Investigate your case, gathering evidence such as videos from surveillance cameras, and police, ambulance, and medical reports and documents, and interviewing witnesses
- Handle all legal procedures and court appearances and make sure all paperwork is filed in accordance with Pennsylvania laws and deadlines
- Hire experts to reconstruct how the death occurred, who was at fault, and provide testimony as to how the resulting damages affect your life
- Deal with communications and negotiations with insurance companies and their lawyers
- Build your case and take it to court if necessary.
Our Wapner Newman legal team will be there for you throughout the entire process, answering your questions and concerns and informing you of any progress in your case. Let us show you what we can do for you. Call today for your free, no-obligation consultation — (215) 569-0900.
Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney Explains Wrongful Death Elements
Our Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Attorneys Must Prove Negligence.
A wrongful death claim can be looked at as a personal injury case where an eligible family member of the deceased seeks compensation since the deceased can no longer do so. It is a civil lawsuit asking for financial restitution, and it is separate from a criminal case, in which charges are filed by the federal, state, or local prosecutor to punish a wrongdoer. A wrongful death claim may be filed even if a criminal case is made.
To win a wrongful death case, Pennsylvania law requires proving that the other party was negligent, at fault, and responsible for the death by showing the following:
- The party who caused the injuries resulting in death had a responsibility to not injure the deceased, failed to live up to that responsibility, and a death occurred.
- There is a connection between the other party’s responsibility and the death due to negligence or intent to harm.
- The surviving family members suffered damages, or a financial loss, as a result of the death.
Wrongful death is caused by an act of negligence, not a criminal act like murder. When someone is negligent in fulfilling some duty owed to your loved one – such as correctly diagnosing a disease — even without intent, the result may be a preventable death.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Determine Whether You Have a Valid Claim
Our wrongful death attorneys can determine whether you have a claim after meeting with you. We review aspects of your case such as:
- Are you an eligible family member or beneficiary of the deceased?
- Is there evidence that someone else’s negligence led to the death?
- Can you show current or future financial losses as a result of the death?
If you have a valid claim, our compassionate attorneys will pursue compensation aggressively, so that you may begin to recover from the financial repercussions of your loved one’s death.
Causes of Wrongful Death
It’s necessary to determine the reason the death occurred. Wrongful death can be the result of many types of accidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability (slip-and-fall)
- Construction site accidents
- Product liability (defective products).
No matter the cause of your loved one’s death, you deserve a compassionate Philadelphia wrongful death attorney who will aggressively pursue the negligent party and help your family begin to heal. Accident victims’ families deserve experienced legal advice after losing a loved one in a fatal accident, so contact our Wapner Newman team today.
Examples of What Makes a Death Wrongful
There can be a fine line between a death that was accidental and a wrongful one where someone else’s negligence was at fault. Here are some examples of when deaths are wrongful:
- A vehicle accident was caused by a reckless drunk driver who ran a red light. The driver could be held liable.
- There was a workplace accident caused by lack of proper fall protections or proper protection for exposure to toxic substances. The construction company or business owner may be held liable.
- There was medical malpractice when a surgeon did not adhere to the standard of care and left sponges in the operation site, resulting in a fatal infection. The surgeon or hospital could be held liable.
- A manufacturer produced and marketed a defective medical device that failed and led to death. The manufacturer, distributor, and salesperson could be held liable.
In some cases, there may be more than one negligent party who could be held liable. Our wrongful death attorneys will identify all potential liable parties and name them as defendants in the case, as they all may have insurance and assets.
What to Expect in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Philadelphia Make Sure You are Prepared
According to Title 42, Chapter 83 of the Pennsylvania General Statutes, Section 8301, a wrongful death is one that is “caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another.” Since the deceased cannot bring a claim, it must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries.
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.
The Process of a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death cases are complicated, and the process can involve several steps that may take time to resolve, including:
Investigating and gathering evidence and, if necessary, consultation with experts to conduct investigations to determine responsibility.
Discovery. After a wrongful death claim is filed with the court, there will be a “discovery,” where the attorneys seek information from one another about the case through written questions, requests for documents and evidence, and depositions.
Making and Answering Pre-Trial Motions. Before trial, both attorneys may make legal motions and arguments about disputes, how evidence was gathered or preserved, details about the complaint or answer, and they may even argue that you should win the suit without a trial.
Determining Damages. Your attorney will determine . . .
- Economic damages, i.e., expenses which can be objectively calculated, such as medical and end-of-life costs, property damage, and funeral and burial costs.
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium, which are more subjective and more likely to be contested.
Settlement or Trial. If your Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can negotiate a settlement out of court, the costs of your case and the time it will take will be reduced. If not, the case will proceed to trial, where arguments are given by both sides, a verdict is rendered, and damages are determined.
Appeal. If either side is unhappy with the verdict, the decision can be appealed by their wrongful death attorney.
Time Limits for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There is a deadline for filing wrongful death cases. According to Pennsylvania law (Pennsylvania Statutes Title 42 Pa.C.S.A. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure § 5524), there is a statute of limitation that allows two years from the date of an injury or death to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system or it will not be heard by the court unless some exception applies.
The Pennsylvania survivor statute states that if a claim began during the decedent’s lifetime, that person’s estate may recover damages for pain and suffering, loss of gross earning power from the date of the injury until death, and loss of earning power, less personal maintenance expenses from the time of the death through the decedent’s estimated working life span.
Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed by the Personal Representative of the estate of the deceased. If a wrongful death lawsuit is not filed within six months after the death, any beneficiary may file on behalf of all the beneficiaries.
Due to the time limits, it is important to speak to a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Wrongful death cases are complicated and can take time to come to completion, especially if a trial is necessary. Fortunately, many cases are settled out of court, which can shorten the time to months, instead of the possibility of years which can happen with a trial.
Damages Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Pennsylvania May Recover
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Fight for Optimum Damages
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a wrongful death claim is most commonly filed by the spouse or dependent children of the victim. In some instances, parents, siblings, and family members who relied on the victim may also file a claim. Our wrongful death lawyers in Philadelphia can help you determine whether you have a right to file a lawsuit and what damages to ask for.
Determining damages in a wrongful death claim is not an easy task. You cannot possibly put a price on the worth of your loved one’s life, but you’ll be asked to do just that for the purposes of your claim. The accidental death attorneys at Wapner Newman know how difficult this process can be.
We will work closely with you to help develop a settlement that takes into account all of your damages, including:
- Related medical expenses
- End-of-life expenses
- Projected future income
- Projected future financial contributions, such as mortgage and tuition
- Loss of a loved one.
In a civil case like a wrongful death lawsuit, the defendant’s liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages. Damages that may be available in a successful Pennsylvania wrongful death claim include:
- funeral and burial expenses
- hospital and medical expenses
- estate administration expenses
- lost wages and benefits, including amounts the deceased reasonably would have been expected to contribute to their family’s support
- compensation for the loss of household services, society, and comfort provided by the deceased, including provision of both physical comforts and services and moral guidance, comfort, and support
- compensation for pain and suffering, loss of love, affection, and consortium for the surviving spouse, and loss of guidance, inheritance, moral upbringing, advice, love, and support for the deceased’s children
- punitive damages to punish the defendant if actions were particularly egregious or willful.
Damages like loss of comfort, companionship, and guidance are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their losses related to the untimely death and are available only to a surviving spouse, children, or parents.
Damages like funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and estate administration expenses, however, are compensated even if there are no surviving spouse, children, or parents.
In determining damages, considerations will be made for questions such as the kind of job the decedent had, what the earnings prospects were for the future, and how this would add up over the person’s 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.
Damage Amounts in a Wrongful Death Settlement
Settlements in wrongful death cases vary greatly and can range from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, based on factors including:
- The type of accident, circumstances of the death, and the damages sustained
- The age and earning potential of the victim
- Whether or not the victim survived for a lengthy period of time after the accident occurred
- The limits of the insurance policy held by the at-fault party
- The legal issues involved, the strength of the evidence, and the need for expert witnesses
- The individual judge, court and jury
- The skill and experience of your wrongful death lawyer.
There are many different factors at play when determining how much you should seek in your wrongful death claim. You want to be sure that you are demanding payment that accurately reflects the challenges you and your loved one have faced. At Wapner Newman, a personal injury lawyer will thoroughly review your situation to help you determine how much you are owed and what legal option might best yield the financial compensation you are entitled to. Even if a negligent party is cleared of criminal charges, they may still be responsible for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyers Get $227 Million Settlement in Market Street Building Collapse Case
The Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Wapner Newman were able to help conclude a long civil trial stemming from the 2013 building collapse on Market Street, with a $227 million settlement believed to be the largest personal injury settlement in Pennsylvania history. The jury returned a unanimous verdict and decided the Salvation Army was 75 percent responsible for the building collapse that led to the death of seven people and the injuries of 12 other victims.
A team of lawyers from four law firms represented survivors of the deceased victims and victims injured in the collapse. Wapner Newman represented the families of two victims, the family of Mary Simpson and the family of Roseline Conteh.
The jury agreed with the argument the wrongful death attorneys presented that the two individuals who were criminally prosecuted were held only one percent responsible for the collapse, and the Salvation Army was primarily responsible for the loss of life and trauma of all victims.
This civil trial settlement not only provides relief to the victims, it also sends a strong message to businesses that safety should always be a top priority.
Call An Experienced Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, choosing the right attorney is crucial. Our seasoned Wapner Newman attorneys provide compassionate but aggressive representation and can make all the difference when it comes to navigating the legal system and fighting for the settlement you and your family deserve.
Don’t delay; call Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900 while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found. We work on a contingency basis, so there is no collection of fees unless and until you win compensation.
We represent wrongful death victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we have offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton.
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