Understanding the Differences: Personal Injury vs. Wrongful Death Claims in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Traffic crashes are painful, traumatic and tragic, whether they turn out to be fatal or non-fatal. In an injury accident, the focus is on the injury victim for the most part, while after a fatal crash, one considers the loss of the individual as well as the impact of that loss on surviving family members. This is just one of the ways personal injury claims differ from wrongful death claims. Read below for a discussion of the similarities and differences between the two types of cases under Pennsylvania. If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in Philadelphia, or if you lost a loved one because of the negligence of another, contact Benedum Law to speak with a skilled and compassionate Chestnut Hill personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.
Personal Injury Claims in Philadelphia: A Brief Overview
Personal injury law encompasses a wide array of incidents where an individual suffers harm due to another’s negligence or intentional actions. In Philadelphia, personal injury claims can arise from various situations, such as:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall incidents
- Boating accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Sexual assaults
The cornerstone of a personal injury claim is the concept of negligence. To establish a successful personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, the injured party (plaintiff) must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused the injury. The objective of personal injury litigation is to secure compensation for the plaintiff’s losses, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Wrongful Death Claims: Understanding the Legal Context in Pennsylvania
Wrongful death claims arise when an individual’s death is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, or breach of contract of another party. In Pennsylvania, wrongful death claims are brought by the deceased’s estate, typically represented by a close family member, to seek compensation for the losses resulting from the death. These losses may include:
- Final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support and benefits
- Loss of companionship and emotional support
A critical aspect of wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania is the concept of liability. The claim is filed against those responsible for the death, which could be an individual, a corporation, or a governmental entity. Unlike personal injury claims, wrongful death suits address the financial and emotional impact on the deceased’s family members. Recovery of compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering is possible if the estate brings a “survival” claim against the negligent party, which can be done separately or in conjunction with a wrongful death claim.
Comparative Analysis: Key Distinctions Between Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims
While both personal injury and wrongful death claims stem from acts of negligence or intentional harm, there are notable differences:
Claimant: Personal injury claims are filed by the injured individual, whereas wrongful death claims are filed by the estate or family members of the deceased.
Damages: In personal injury cases, damages are calculated based on the victim’s suffering and financial losses. In wrongful death cases, the focus shifts to the losses experienced by the family, such as loss of income and companionship.
Statute of Limitations: Pennsylvania law stipulates different time frames for filing personal injury and wrongful death claims. A personal injury claim must be filed within two years from the date of the incident causing the injury, while the statute of limitations in wrongful death cases is two years from the date of death, which is not always the same date as the incident which caused the death. It is crucial to be aware of these deadlines to ensure your claim is filed in a timely manner.
Legal Assistance from Benedum Law: Navigating Your Claim in Philadelphia
At Benedum Law, our commitment is to provide compassionate and skilled legal representation to those affected by personal injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one. Understanding the legal intricacies of these claims in Pennsylvania law is critical to success. Our experienced team in Chestnut Hill is well-versed in the law and process for pursuing justice and compensation from the responsible party. We work diligently to ensure that our clients’ rights are upheld and that they receive the compensation they deserve. Call our office at 215-529-7848 for a no-cost consultation to find out how we can help.