The death of a loved one is never easy on surviving family members. A Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer will often see grieving families who are left to contend with hospital bills, funeral costs and other expenses.
The city of Pittsburgh recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of a man who died during a blizzard. The man called for an ambulance, but due to the blizzard, an ambulance did not reach the man before he died. The victim and his girlfriend called 911 on 10 separate occasions during a 30-hour period. The Pittsburgh city attorneys stated the settlement was in the best interests of all of the parties because it avoided what could have been a long and drawn out trial and allowed some privacy for the man's grieving family members.
A wrongful death occurs when a person is killed because of someone else's negligence or misconduct. A civil action for wrongful death can be pursued on behalf of a victim's immediate family members, usually a spouse or children; however, only the personal representative of a victim's estate is entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If the suit is successful, the estate of the deceased may recover financial damages, including those for loss of income, support and services, and for medical and funeral expenses. Money damages are distributed under the terms of the deceased victim's estate.
Settlement of a wrongful death case occurs when all parties agree that a plaintiff will forego any further rights to legal action in relation to a specific accident or injury that resulted in the death of their loved one. In exchange, the parties agree on a sum of money to be paid by a defendant or a defendant's insurance company.
No court action resulting in a monetary award or settlement can bring back a deceased family member. Nevertheless, a wrongful death action can help survivors begin to cope with their loss.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pittsburgh, county settle lawsuit over death during blizzard," Joe Smydo, Sept. 19, 2012.
For more information, please visit our Pittsburgh wrongful death page.