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Who can recover damages in wrongful death suit in Pennsylvania?

It seems obvious that losing a loved one is never easy. When such a death occurs suddenly, or in the middle of a person's life, when he or she is healthy and could expect many more years of living, the pain can be even worse, as those left behind wonder what might have been. When the death is caused by the intentional or negligent actions of another person, the situation can be devastating for Pittsburgh residents.

When something so tragic happens, it is natural for people left behind to look for some form of closure, and to want to feel as if their loved ones' lives were vindicated in some fashion, and that justice was served. While a criminal prosecution might help in some situations, not all negligence is criminal. Civil suits, however, allow the family to seek compensation that can help defray medical and funeral costs, as well as other damages.

But under the law, who can file an action for wrongful death and recover such damages? Section 8301 of Pennsylvania's Consolidated Statutes lays out this information. Basically, a spouse, children or parents of a person who is killed by the unlawful violence or negligence of someone else may receive damages in a wrongful death suit in the state. If more than one such beneficiary exists, any awarded damages would be distributed in accordance with the state's intestacy statute for personal property.

If none of these beneficiaries exist or are eligible to recover, the deceased person's estate's personal representative may file an action to recover reasonable medical, funeral and administration costs. While money cannot replace a deceased human being, it may help families find some comfort and closure. Those in such a situation may wish to consider speaking with an experienced Pittsburgh wrongful death attorney.

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