Should you lose a close loved one, such as a spouse, child or parent, to wrongful death in Pennsylvania, you can sue the person whose negligence caused the death.
FindLaw explains that wrongful death is a civil action for which you can receive only money damages should you win your suit.
Types of damages
You can collect three possible types of damages in a wrongful death suit: economic, noneconomic and punitive.
Economic damages include things to which you can assign a precise dollar figure, such as the following:
- The deceased’s medical and funeral expenses
- The loss of his or her expected earnings
- The loss of his or her expected future inheritance
- The loss of his or her expected services
Noneconomic damages include things to which you cannot assign a precise dollar figure, such as the following:
- The pain, suffering and mental anguish your loved one’s wrongful death caused you
- The loss of his or her love and companionship
- The loss of his or her care, guidance, advice, protection, etc.
- The loss of his or her consortium
Should the jury determine that one or more of the defendants acted in an especially egregious manner in causing your loved one’s death, you may also recover punitive damages. These represent an amount above your economic and noneconomic damages that the jury awards you so as to punish the defendant(s).
Finally, you may be able to recover your attorneys’ fees and court costs. These do not fall under the heading of damages, but rather represent your costs in bringing the wrongful death lawsuit.
While you should not interpret this educational information as legal advice, it can help you understand the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit and the types of damages you can recover.