How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in PA?
If a loved one died because of the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Known as wrongful death lawsuits, these claims could allow you to obtain compensation for medical and funeral expenses, lost income, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium (basically the legal word that covers the affection and support provided by the deceased family member had they lived).
Two-Year Limit in PA Wrongful Death Cases (and Exceptions)
In order to obtain this compensation, eligible family members (spouses, parents, and children) are usually required to file a lawsuit within two years of the wrongful death. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the death occurred more than two years after the negligence that led to death happened, and the deceased did not file a liability claim while still alive, the deceased’s family is probably not eligible to file a wrongful death claim. An example of this is a long-delayed diagnosis of cancer. If more than two years elapsed between the failure to diagnose the cancer and the patient dying, then the surviving family members may be ineligible to file a lawsuit.
Two-Year Limit on Filing Survival Cases in Pennsylvania
This two-year limit also applies to survival actions, which are lawsuits brought by the estate of the deceased on his or her behalf. These lawsuits are for damages that the deceased could have claimed had he or she lived. The most important element of such an action is the pain and suffering of the deceased before death, whether it’s minutes, days, weeks, or months.
Claims such as these usually rely on the testimony of medical experts who can testify to the length of time the victim suffered before death and the degree of pain they experienced. It is important to have a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer who is able to translate technical medical language into words that can be understood by a judge and jury.
Call Experienced Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers to Learn More About Wrongful Death Time Limits
Wrongful death can occur in even the safest of Pittsburgh, PA hospitals, such as UMPC Presbyterian Shadyside, Jefferson Hospital and Forbes Hospital. If you have questions about the time available to file a wrongful death or survival lawsuit in Pennsylvania, talk to an attorney at the Pittsburgh law firm of Berger & Lagnese, LLC. Our office is conveniently located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Call us at 412-471-4300, or use the online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our firm handles wrongful death cases throughout Western PA and beyond.