Free information on Pennsylvania wrongful death, who can sue, what can be recovered and the distinction between a wrongful death action and a survival action in Pennsylvania.

A Pennsylvania wrongful death claim may be brought whenever someone has died because of someone else's carelessness. Wrongful death actions can arise from almost any circumstance, including: car accidents, truck accidents, medical mistakes, dangerous property conditions; dangerous products and other causes.

At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., we understand the multiple and sometimes conflicting emotions a family endures when a loved one is unexpectedly taken from them. Our focus is to ensure that the family compensated for all their losses which may included financial losses and emotional losses. We will ensure that the process does not add unnecessary additional stress while doing all that can be done to protect your legal rights.

What Is My Family Entitled to?


A claim for wrongful death is specifically created by a Pennsylvania statute. The statute provides that surviving family members are to be compensated for money loss they have sustained as a result of their loved one's death. This loss is measured by a projection as to how much economic value the family member would have received from their departed family member had the deceased lived. This value includes money and other support that the deceased would have given their surviving family for housing, support, gifts, education and the like. It also includes other value that the deceased would have provided, including services (like work around the home), society and comfort.

Who is Entitled to Compensation?

In Pennsylvania, a surviving spouse, child, or parent is entitled to compensation. If there is no surviving spouse, child or parent then siblings or cousins may recover although the money must pass through the estate of the deceased person.

The mechanics of bringing the claim are modestly more complicated than merely identifying who is entitled to recover. A personal representative of the estate may bring the claim on behalf of survivors although there are occasions when someone other than the personal representative may bring the claim. Your Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can advise you on the best path to follow in this regard.

How is Wrongful Death Different from A Survival Action?

A Pennsylvania survival action is one in which the damages that are recovered are those that the deceased person would have been entitled to recover had he or she survived. Thus, the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earning power (less personal maintenance expense) are recoverable in a survival action. Recovery is not permitted for loss of enjoyment of life or shortening of life expectancy. Proof of the damages in survival action requires a skilled Pennsylvania trial lawyer with familiarity in the use of expert economists or actuaries to calculate the earning damages and other elements of the case.

In any wrongful death action, it is necessary to ensure that the case is properly investigated and prepared by a qualified Erie injury attorney. Further, there are specific time limitations that apply to a wrongful death claim that may, in some but not all circumstances, differ from the statute of limitations that would apply to an ordinary injury or negligence claim. An experienced Erie wrongful death lawyer will perform the necessary investigation, arrange for the proper parties to be named to pursue the wrongful death or survival claim and take the necessary action to protect the case from the statute of limitations.

Contact a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Attorney

You may be looking for a northwest Pennsylvania lawyer with experience in wrongful death cases. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Pennsylvania injury attorneys, call today toll free at 877-505-9548 or locally at 814-580-5017 or use the on-line consult form on the right side of this page.