Losing a family member can be a tragic and devastating occurrence. As any Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer knows, even more distressful to the surviving family can be the knowledge that family member experienced a great deal of pain and suffering before death.
A Pennsylvania woman recently filed a wrongful death suit in the federal court in Pittsburgh after her father was killed in a car accident two years ago on Pennsylvania route 711. The daughter's suit, which she brought as the administrator of her father's estate, alleges that her father experienced significant pain and suffering, and then death due to the car crash. The defendant in the case is the driver of the car in which the father was a passenger. It was a single car accident; the driver lost control of the vehicle while going around a turn, crashing into a stone wall. The woman's father experienced fractures to his lower extremities and left wrist, among other injuries, and died of blunt-force trauma.
Wrongful death suits may be brought by the deceased person's estate when the death was caused by the negligence of another person, and the surviving family members suffer a monetary injury because of the death. In a successful wrongful death suit, the estate may recover pecuniary damages, which can include damages for loss of support or services, medical expenses and the loss of a prospective inheritance. Courts take many factors into account in determining the award, such as the age and condition of the deceased person, their life expectancy and their earning capacity. The person's family may also bring a survival action for the conscious pain and suffering of the deceased person.
Here, the daughter also brought negligence claims and a survival action. While nothing can bring back a loved one, damages awarded in a wrongful death action may ease some of the financial hardship that accompanies a tragic death.
Source: HeraldStandard.com, "Woman sues over father's death," Dec. 21, 2012