Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Pennsylvania?

Under Title 42 Chapter 83 Section 8301 of the Pennsylvania Statutes, a wrongful death is “caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another.” In essence, a wrongful death case is a personal injury case when the victim can no longer bring his or her own case to court. Another party brings that case on the deceased individual’s behalf. He or she files the wrongful death lawsuit for purposes of obtaining compensation for the damages suffered in connection with the decedent’s fatal injury.

Who Can Bring the Lawsuit?
Wrongful deaths cases are civil cases. Pennsylvania law only allows the personal representative of the decedent to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. That representative is appointed by the court. If that personal representative fails to bring a wrongful death lawsuit within six months of the decedent’s death, any of the decedent’s family members are eligible to be appointed as the personal representative.

How is a Personal Representative Appointed?
An individual seeking to be appointed as the decedent’s personal representative in a wrongful death case must first file a petition with the Court. He or she cannot act until such time as a judge signs an order appointing the petitioner the personal representative.

If you were named as the personal representative or successor trustee of a person who died a wrongful death, you are likely to be appointed his or her personal representative for purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit. Don’t forget about the six-month rule. Contact the wrongful death attorneys in Lebanon PA at Henry & Beaver, LLP to arrange for a free consultation and case review on any wrongful death claim. Our attorneys will listen carefully about how the death occurred and answer your questions about the complicated procedures to be followed in wrongful death cases.