Whenever a person in Pennsylvania is killed as the result of the wrongful act of another, it may be possible for the victim's family to recover from the responsible party by means of a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death suits are a relatively recent development. Before the Keystone State enacted its Wrongful Death Act and its Survival Act, survivors had a difficult time recovering for the loss of their loved ones. The Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Act lay out the kinds of damages that may be available in a wrongful death suit. This blog post will give a brief rundown of these possible damages.
Under the Wrongful Death Act, survivors can recover from a liable party all medical, hospital, funeral, burial and estate administration expenses incurred. The act also makes it possible for survivors to recover for contributions that they would have received from the victim had the fatal incident not occurred. These include sums that the victim would have spent on food, shelter, medical care, clothing, gifts, education and recreation.
Survivors can also recover the value of work around the home, the provision of physical comforts and services and the provision of society and comfort that the victim would have rendered had the fatal incident not occurred.
As a piece of legislation, the Survival Act is closely related to the Wrongful Death Act. Under the Survival Act, survivors can recover for the total net amount the victim would have earned had the fatal incident not happened. This amount can be computed from the amount of pay and benefits that the victim earned minus amounts awarded under the Wrongful Death Act. Under the Survival Act, survivors can also recover for the victim's pain and suffering.
The exact amount of damages that may be available will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a particular case.