Losing a family member is difficult to accept, especially when someone else is responsible for their passing. If you face such a situation, you may have a basis for filing a wrongful death lawsuit to recover financial losses. Here are key steps in the process.
3 Steps When Pursuing a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death
1. Prepare for Legal Action
Obtain a copy of the death certificate through the Pennsylvania Department of Vital Records. Someone needs to be appointed as personal representative, the person authorized to conduct business on behalf of the estate and file the lawsuit.
If the deceased left a will naming an individual to serve, they will be appointed by the Office of the Register of Wills in the county where the deceased lived. If no one was named or there is no will, a spouse, family member, or unrelated person can be appointed.
2. Investigate & Gather Evidence
Investigating the circumstances and gathering evidence, such as information on all the individuals or companies that might be liable for money damages, is essential. You must identify all survivors and heirs, such as the spouse, children, siblings, and parents who may have depended on the deceased.
In addition, you need to determine all the bills, expenses, and loss of income, personal services, and companionship arising from the deceased person's passing. This information is necessary for effective negotiation and to file suit.
3. Negotiate & Settle or File a Lawsuit
Negotiating with the insurance company or attorneys of the responsible parties often results in a settlement without filing suit. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the personal representative must file a lawsuit to protect the survivors' rights and achieve justice.
Generally, Pennsylvania law allows two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Hiring an experienced lawyer as early as possible increases the chance of achieving the best outcome in the case.
If you have lost a family member due to someone else's actions or failure to act, consult Bernard M. Tully Attorney at Law in Pittsburgh, PA. Drawing on over 33 years of experience, this wrongful death lawyer helps clients pursue claims for compensation successfully. Their legal team is dedicated to achieving the best outcome possible for each client, whether by settlement or trial. For more about how they can assist you, visit the website. To schedule a free consultation, call (412) 281-8700.
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