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Philadelphia, PA 19102

215.665.1695

Wrongful Death

If you've lost a loved one to an accident or an intentional act of another, there's nothing that can truly compensate you for that. There's no bringing that person back. Sometimes, knowing that another person is responsible for the death by their irresponsibility, recklessness or misdeeds can make the situation even harder to deal with.

You can seek justice for your loved ones through the civil courts system — even if you could not through criminal courts. A wrongful death action against the responsible party may reward monetary damages for your loss.

Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyer

After losing a loved one to negligence or intentional acts, a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can represent you in recovering what you can for your loss. At Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC, our trial attorneys are aggressive advocates for justice. We will take on insurance companies and any responsible parties to hold them accountable for your loved one's loss. You've suffered one of the worst things that can happen. Let us fight for you. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 to schedule a consultation.

We serve clients throughout the Philadelphia area, including in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Chester County. We also represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Information Center


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Defining Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania

Wrongful death means a death that is caused by the negligence or intentional acts of another.

Negligence means that the plaintiff, or person bringing the lawsuit, must prove by preponderance of evidence that the defendant, or person being sued:

  • Had a duty to behave a certain way, usually as a reasonable person;
  • Failed to act that way, or breached that duty;
  • Was the actual and legal cause of the damages suffered; and
  • That a person suffered damages, in this case, death.

Accidental deaths may fall under negligence. Simply because a person did not intend for your loved one to die does not mean they are not responsible, and it does not mean they should not pay. Accidental deaths may be caused by auto accidents, medical malpractice or workplace accidents.

Intentional acts mean the person intended to cause harm, or had reckless disregard for the consequences. If the responsible person was convicted of murder or manslaughter, you likely have a very strong case.

However, if the person who caused the death was acquitted, it doesn't mean you will lose a civil case. Criminal law has a very different standard of evidence. Prosecutors may not have the evidence to prove the case against the person beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a civil case, the plaintiff only has to prove, more likely than not, that the events described happened. It is a much lower standard, and much easier to prove.


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Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action in Pennsylvania, and When

Wrongful death actions are usually sought by the spouses or children of the deceased. However, in some circumstances, the parents can bring suit. It depends on the surviving relatives of the victim.

A wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the death. However, there are also lawsuits called survival lawsuits to seek compensation for the actual injury suffered, and they must be brought within two years of the injury.

For example, your loved one was badly hurt in an accident and suffered greatly for six months before succumbing. You may be able to seek compensation for the suffering he or she suffered, but that is a survival action and must be brought within 18 months of the death, which is two years after the injury.

Immediately following a death is a difficult time to think about money, but it's important to act quickly. Remember, your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can act for you, handling the difficult negotiations.


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Damages Available in Philadelphia Wrongful Death Actions

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you may seek compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages are the tangible, measurable damages that you suffered as a result of the loss of your loved one. In a wrongful death, these damages may include the wages the loved one would have earned, lost services that would have been performed by the deceased, funeral expenses and other end-of-life expenses.

Noneconomic damages are the less tangible, but still very real damages you suffer, like the emotional loss of a loved one. In a survival action, you may also bring suit for the pain and suffering the loved one went through.

Punitive damages may also be available, especially if the death was the result of an intentional act. Punitive damages are meant to punish people.


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Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC | Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney

If you've gone through the death of a loved one due to the negligence or bad act of another, then you must act to bring justice for yourself and the one you’ve lost. A dedicated Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer from Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC can fight to make sure you recover and hold the responsible people accountable. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 to set up a consultation.