There are many different ways that a Pennsylvania family can respond to the death of a loved one. Working with a wrongful death attorney can help illuminate the different paths a family can take when struggling with the financial obstacles that come in the wake of a tragic loss.
One Pennsylvania family’s case helps to illustrate the point. A 39-year-old Hempfield woman died in an unusual incident on a sunny, clear day in summer. The woman went outside while on the telephone with the utility company to report that power lines in her yard had started a fire. A power line fell on the woman as she was giving this report; she sustained serious burns and died.
The family pursued a wrongful death action that resulted in a jury verdict of over $100 million. An agency action filed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission against the same utility company followed. Now, that action is wrapping up as well. A settlement has been approved, which fines the company $86,000 and requires them to carry out certain safety measures that will hopefully prevent such electrocution incidents from happening in the future.
A wrongful death claim is a legal option available to family members who have lost a loved one and want to hold a negligent party accountable for the death. While the compensation awarded to families in such cases can never replace a beloved family member, it can help protect their economic foundation when faced with medical and funeral bills, loss of the deceased’s income and other unexpected shocks to their financial stability. As the case above demonstrates, sometimes a wrongful death claim can even potentially play a role in bringing about changes that could help avert similar injuries and deaths.
A wrongful death attorney can help a grieving family identify the relief they seek and craft a plan that works towards the outcome they seek. It may be important to seek individual relief as well as effect change for the community.
Source: triblive.com, “State commission, West Penn Power settle Hempfield electrocution case,” Paul Peirce, Jan. 10, 2014