Losing a loved one is often devastating and a life-altering experience. If that death was caused by the actions of another, you may have to face some challenging legal issues, as well. There are two types of actions in civil litigation for the family of someone who died due to negligent or intentional circumstances: wrongful death and survival. Navigating this legal situation and understanding the differences between these two claims is crucially important. Pennsylvania permits the recovery of damages due to an accidental death caused by someone else’s negligence or other conduct under two statutes: the Wrongful Death Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 8301, and the Survival Act, 42 Pa. C.S. § 8302.
Pennsylvania law only provides a cause of action for the spouses, parents or children of a fatal accident victim. If the there are no such parties the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may bring such a claim.
The damages in wrongful death claims are the damage directly incurred by the specified family member. That is, the loss of income and support the decedent would have provided but for the death, medical and funeral expenses for the family, as well as the loss of companionship and related contributions to the family. This can all be difficult to prove in court, especially the last and most powerful loss of companionship, and lay and expert witnesses will likely be needed to demonstrate the loss.
Survival actions seek damages on behalf of the decedent, his or her self, and seek to recover damages had they had survived the accident. This includes the conscious pain and suffering that the decedent was subjected to throughout from the time of the incident until their time of death.
Again, such damages are not always easy to measure or prove in court. Lay and expert witnesses will likely be needed to fully demonstrate.
If you have lost a loved one, you need an attorney that can take the pressure off of you and who understands the legal challenges you are facing. Call attorney Gabriel Levin at The Levin Firm today to talk about how we can help. Call (215) 825-5183 and so we can understand your situation, and how we can begin to help.
The sudden, unexpected loss of a family member or other loved one is always difficult. The loss can be even more tragic, however, if your loved one died due to a preventable accident or intentional act of violence. If another party’s negligence or violent act caused the death, Pennsylvania law gives  surviving family members the legal right to hold the responsible party liable for their actions in court. Though financial recovery can never bring a loved one back, it can help for you to find a sense of justice and also receive compensation for the losses you suffered.
Types of acts that commonly cause wrongful death
Wrongful deaths may occur in a wide variety of situations that involve negligence. Negligence occurs when a party—generally an individual, company, or government entity—has a duty of care to act in a certain manner in the situation, breaches that duty, and causes actual injury or death. Common examples of incidents arising from negligence that cause wrongful death include the following:
In addition to negligence, wrongful death acts also arise out of intentional acts. Such acts include police brutality, assaults, vehicular assault, and more. In addition to criminal charges, people who commit acts of violence may also face wrongful death lawsuits in civil court as well. This gives the surviving family members the opportunity to hold the responsible individual financially responsible in addition to any penal consequences they may face in a criminal case.
Wrongful death cases can help a family recover for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income and other financial contributions the deceased would have made to the household, loss of love, companionship, and other intangible losses. Valuating damages  in a wrongful death case can be extremely complicated, so you always want to make sure that you have an attorney handling your case who understands the nature of wrongful death claims.
Construction sites are dangerous places, as the ground is unstable, structures are usually incomplete and unsteady, and many tools, objects, materials, and debris may fall or be scattered on the ground. As a result, construction workers suffer the most workplace injuries of any occupation, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and many of those injuries are sadly fatal. If you have lost a loved one in or around a construction site, you should always contact a wrongful death attorney to discuss a possible case against the responsible party.
When discussing construction accidents, OSHA refers to the “Big Four,” which are the four most deadly hazards causing injury at construction sites. These four hazards are as follows:
1. Being struck by an object. People in or around construction sites may be struck by flying objects, falling objects, swinging objects, or even by equipment or objects at ground level. For example, a worker who is on scaffolding may drop a hammer that hits the head of another worker; a nail gun may malfunction and shoot a nail into someone else’s head; someone may be hit by materials on the end of a crane; or a person may be hit by a bulldozer on the ground.
2. Construction Fall Injuries. Construction workers often work at great heights, whether they are on a ladder, scaffolding, operating a crane, or simply standing on a roof. Anytime people work at heights, there is the risk of falling to their death.
3. Caught-in accidents. These accidents occur when a person becomes trapped. People may be trapped between two pieces of large building materials, a piece of large equipment and a wall or other structure, in a trench or hole that collapsed, and many more. These injuries are often fatal because the victim may be crushed or suffocated.
4. Electrocution. Construction sites often involve ungrounded wires or unfinished electrical systems, which cause a large number of fatal electrocutions each year.
If your loved one was killed on the job on a construction site, worker’s compensation may not provide adequate relief for you and your family. The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act allows you to try to receive additional compensation for the sudden death of your spouse, parent, or other family member.
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