Who Can Seek a Financial Recovery after an Accidental or Wrongful Death?
When someone dies because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, there are almost always repercussions. The person who died may have had a family, a spouse and children and many friends, all of whom feel the loss. The deceased may have provided financially for others or even been the sole breadwinner in the household. In the aftermath of a wrongful death, the law allows certain parties to pursue damages from the at-fault party. There are limits, though, on who may rightfully seek compensation after an accidental death.
You Must Be a “Real Party in Interest”
As a general rule, to qualify to file a wrongful death action in Pennsylvania, you must demonstrate that you were a “real party in interest,” someone with both a substantive right that can be legally enforced. In Pennsylvania, by law, a wrongful death lawsuit may one be filed by the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. It’s important to understand that the personal representative files the legal action on behalf of the deceased’s beneficiaries. Accordingly, to recover damages after the death of a loved one, you must be someone who was either named in the decedent’s will or who would have been entitled to an inheritance under Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws (the laws that apply to the distribution of estates when the deceased has no will or other estate planning).
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have protected the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980, including individuals with wrongful death claims. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.
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