When an individual dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person or a group of people, certain family members of the deceased can recover damages in Pennsylvania courts. Generally, those family members include the spouse, children or parents of the person who died. Wrongful death actions in Pennsylvania are governed by the Wrongful Death Act, 42 Pa.C.S. Section 8301, as well as several Pennsylvania court decisions that have interpreted the Wrongful Death Act.
However, the family members of the deceased can only be compensated for a specific category of damages. The child or children of the decedent can recover two types of damages: support damages and tutelage or guidance damages. Support damages are calculated as the amount of money that the deceased would have spent to support their child or children had they not died prematurely. These support damages usually include the costs of food, shelter, medical expenses, education, gifts, clothing, recreation and entertainment.
Tutelage damages, also known as guidance damages, cover the amount of money that the child lost and will lose because they will not be able to benefit from the deceased parent’s would be guidance, advice, training, education, emotional support, moral upbringing and teaching. Tutelage damages entitle a child or children to be compensated for the monetary value of the deceased parents care for their family and the education of their children that they would have provided their children had they still been alive. A surviving spouse or parent of the victim of a wrongful death can also successfully seek damages for their loss of companionship and affection.
The most difficult part of suddenly losing a loved one is the grief, pain, trauma and suffering it causes the surviving family members. Unfortunately, the Wrongful Death Act and Pennsylvania case law have historically restricted family members from seeking damages for grief and bereavement in wrongful death actions. However, a series of recent decisions throughout Pennsylvania high courts may have begun a fresh conversation about grief damages in wrongful death actions and a change in the status quo. For those who fight every day to bring justice to family members who have lost their loved ones because of the negligence of another, it is a conversation worth having.
Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Represent Victims of Wrongful Deaths
When a person dies suddenly and unexpectedly due to someone else’s negligence, family members are often left with many unanswered questions and large expenses. If you or your family have lost a loved one because of the wrongful conduct of another person or a group of people, call the experienced Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates. Our knowledgeable lawyers will help you and your family seek compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one.