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Wrongful death in Pennsylvania

Residents in Pennsylvania may benefit from learning more about the state's provisions that govern actions for wrongful death. Pennsylvania code requires action for wrongful death to be filed by the personal representative of the decedent. If no claim is filed within six months following the incident, a representative of someone lawfully entitled to recover damages may take action. In many cases, several people may be lawfully entitled to recover damages, so the restitution may need to be dispensed accordingly.

While one civil action is pending, any subsequent action for wrongful death is prohibited by state law. People lawfully entitled to receive restitution may petition to have other plaintiffs replaced with individuals who are lawfully entitled to recover damages. Courts may replace a plaintiff with a substitution if it is advisable. These provisions are designed to provide plaintiffs mutually interested in recovering damages with some supervisory control and access to receive assistance from the courts if the process is being conducted improperly.

In taking legal action, plaintiffs are required to disclose their relationship to the decedent, their rights in filing the wrongful death claim, the names and addresses of other parties lawfully entitled to recover damages, as well as their relationship with the decedent and if legal action was filed on their behalf also. State law also prohibits wrongful death cases involving minors or incapacitated people from being settled outside of court until a judge has approved the terms of the agreement.

People who have lost an immediate relative or spouse due to another person's actions or behavior may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim in court. Legal counsel may be to assist plaintiffs with recovering restitution to help account for funeral costs, medical expenses and other hardships that are related to the sudden loss.

Source: The Pennsylvania Code, "CHAPTER 2200. ACTIONS FOR WRONGFUL DEATH", October 13, 2014

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