Top-Rated Wrongful Death Attorney in Philadelphia, PA
Trust Our Over 20 Years of Experience
Our Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys have been fighting for families like yours since 1998, with over $135 million recovered for our clients in cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, train accidents, defective and dangerous products, medical malpractice, birth injuries, construction accidents, and premises liability.
Heidi G. Villari, Esquire is the managing member of the Villari Firm. She takes a holistic approach to handling wrongful death, with a tough-as-nails stance toward the wrongdoers and has handled many wrongful death matters. The Villari Firm, PLLC offers compassionate guidance and understanding to their clients who have lost loved ones in devastating accidents.
We work with clients in Philadelphia and throughout the five-county region and the state of Pennsylvania. We are also licensed to practice and handle matters in New Jersey including Camden County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Essex County, Atlantic County, and throughout the State of New Jersey. Regardless of the circumstances, you can count on the dedication of our wrongful death lawyers to work for your cause to achieve justice for the wrongful loss of your family member and fight to get the compensation and winning result you and your family deserve. To speak with a wrongful death lawyer about your case, contact us now.
Wrongful Death Defined
Wrongful death is a death that could have been prevented, had someone not been negligent or failed to adhere to the standard of care.
We know the loss of a loved one causes indescribable devastation, affecting everyone left behind. Undoubtedly, the pain of this loss gets compounded by the knowledge it could have been prevented.
If you lost a family member in an accident or any incident that may have resulted from the failure of a person or company to provide reasonable care, you may have grounds for a wrongful death action. While no sum of money will make up for your loss, you can hold that person or company accountable for what they have done and seek justice in your loved one’s name.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
- Medical Malpractice – When a medical professional makes fatal, careless mistakes during surgery, fails to identify a condition that poses a life-threatening condition or fails to give the necessary care
- Birth Injuries – any physical injury sustained by the infant or mother before, during, or immediately after labor or delivery
- Construction Accidents – injuries and/or property damage incurred as a result of building, improving, repairing, cleaning, demolishing, or generally constructing within a facility
- Truck Accidents – collisions involving tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial vehicles that result in catastrophic injury, property damage, or death
- Motorcycle Accidents – involve unforeseen road incidents caused by another party, driver negligence, and other circumstances. This may lead to bodily harm, spinal cord injury, brain injury, property damage, and wrongful death
- Premises Liability – holds property owners and residents accountable for injuries or deaths sustained on their premises
- Product Liability – holding a manufacturer or seller accountable for delivering defective products and goods to a buyer
- Car Accidents – when a driver knowingly or accidentally causes an accident resulting in the death of another driver due to distracted driving, reckless driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Talk With an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Heidi Villari, a leading female attorney and wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, has practiced law well for over two decades. She has diligently worked for the interests and rights of those injured or wronged due to others’ negligence. Her dedication to her career representing those harmed by corporations, government agencies, or individuals has her successfully recovering over $130 million in verdicts and settlements for her clients. Talk with her today.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act allows a decedent’s personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue compensation claims. The personal representative or the executor is usually identified in the will of the deceased person. In the absence of a will, the court may choose a representative for the estate.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, beneficiaries are restricted to the victim’s children, spouse, and parents. If the personal representative does not file a wrongful death lawsuit within six months of the decedent’s passing, any of the beneficiaries have the legal right to file a legal proceeding and recover damages against the responsible party. The responsible party may be another person, a company, or a government entity.
Our competent wrongful death lawyers will work to find out who is ultimately responsible for your family member’s death and hold them accountable for their actions.
Wrongful Death Damages
If you are eligible to make a compensation claim on behalf of the wrongful death victims, there are specific types of damages you may be able to recover from your claim.
Recoverable Economic Damages
You may be entitled to receive the following economic damages in connection with your wrongful death lawsuit:
- Burial cost and funeral expenses
- Hospital costs and any related medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Estate administration expenses
Recoverable Non-economic Damages
Non-economic damages you may be eligible to claim for the emotional anguish and psychological effects of a family member’s passing are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of comfort, companionship, and guidance
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
In addition to wrongful death claims under the Wrongful Death Act, there is a separate claim known as a survival action. In this case, the family may be able to recover damages the deceased person could have pursued in a lawsuit during his lifetime.
Survival action claim includes the pain and suffering of the deceased before passing away, the price of medical care, nursing care, and hospital care. The gross loss of the earning capacity of the deceased from the date of injury until death and the loss of earning capacity less personal maintenance costs from the time of death through the remainder of the estimated life expectancy of the deceased are also included. Loss of enjoyment of life or a shortened lifespan is not eligible for recovery.
A survival action is a claim brought by the decedent’s estate for losses incurred by the decedent before his death or by his estate. The estate representative/administrator may pursue the wrongful death suit. Damages obtained through a survival action belong to the estate. It will be passed following the terms of the decedent’s will or the intestate laws if he passed away without a will.
According to Pennsylvania law, the purpose of damages is to compensate the surviving spouse, children, and/or parents of the deceased for the losses they have sustained resulting from the wrongful death. However, even if there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent, the personal representative may still seek damages to compensate the estate for expenses incurred. This can cover the administration of the estate, as well as funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, and other costs related to the deceased’s health.
Legal advice from a credible wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia can ensure you will recover the maximum compensation claims you deserve.
How Much a Wrongful Death Case is Worth
No amount of monetary damages could compensate a family for the loss of a family member, but it can provide stability in tumultuous times. It can also provide peace of mind and a sense of closure in seeing justice served upon those responsible.
An experienced Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can help you calculate the damages your grieving family should receive. The calculation attempts to assign a monetary value to the loss your family experienced as a direct result of the wrongful death.
There are two major categories of damages figured into this calculation. First are the economic damages, which include medical expenditures, burial costs, and missed wages. Second are the non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship and pain and suffering resulting from wrongful death. A Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer will consider the following factors when determining the damages to recover in a wrongful death case:
- Age and health of the dead at the time of death
- The income of the deceased person at the time of death
- The amount or type of specialized training the decedent received to acquire their work position at the time of death
- Future benefits, such as pension or vacation time, the family lost from the decedent’s passing
- The identification of the responsible party and the degree of negligence, recklessness, or bad intentions presented
- The amount of pain and suffering the deceased endured resulting from the injury that caused their death
Wrongful Death Claim Tax
According to the Internal Revenue Service, any lawsuit settlement money a court grants for wrongful death or physical injury is exempt from taxes.
If the surviving family members are awarded punitive damages as part of their claim for wrongful death, they will possibly still be required to pay taxes on the wrongful death compensation they receive.
Talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia if you want to learn about the tax consequences of any proceeds from a wrongful death case that you may receive.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death in Philadelphia
According to the state of Pennsylvania statutes, a wrongful death suit must be filed within two years of the death. Consider that the statute of limitations starts to run on the day your loved one died, not the day they were injured or the accident occurred.
If the lawsuit is not submitted before the statute of limitation expired, the court will refuse to hear the matter.
It is in your best interest to seek legal advice and representation with a reliable wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia to explain how the wrongful death law might apply to your specific situation and ensure your case will be filed on time.
Proving Wrongful Death
The strength of the evidence supporting the defendant’s negligence in wrongful death cases is crucial. The burden of proof rests firmly on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent. When you file a claim for wrongful death in Philadelphia, you will need to establish the same things that your deceased loved one would have been required to prove.
Since not all deaths qualify for a wrongful death claim, there are four criteria to win a wrongful death suit successfully:
- Duty – the individual or entity whose actions or inaction caused your loved one’s death had a duty not to do what they did
- Breach of duty – the individual or entity responsible for your loved one’s death violated that duty
- Causation – their wrongful act or negligence caused your loved one’s death
- Damages – you have losses because of the decedent’s death
A qualified Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can help you establish and build a solid legal case to protect the rights of your deceased loved one and ensure you will receive fair compensation.
Wrongful Death Out of Court Settlement
Losing a loved one due to negligence can be devastating. It is even more physically and emotionally challenging to engage in a lengthy and costly lawsuit to claim damages. But you don’t have to undergo this process since an out-of-court settlement for a wrongful death claim is possible.
Negotiation is a beneficial option to pursue a fair and reasonable settlement amount. Your well-seasoned and highly experienced Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer will play a significant role if you want to pursue an out-of-court settlement. Excellent negotiation skills are needed to negotiate with the responsible party and their insurance representative.
An out-of-court settlement may be a success if both parties will arrive at a satisfactory agreement, but it offers no guarantee. If both parties failed to settle their terms, it will still end with a lawsuit proceeding.
Call the Philadelphia Wrongful Death Attorney at The Villari Firm
Recklessness and intentional wrongdoing claim innocent lives across Pennsylvania every single day. The Villari Firm, PLLC is devoted to fighting against negligence, corporations putting profits over safety, and all other acts of wrongdoing that cost innocent people’s lives.
Heidi Villari has a reputation for her powerful client advocacy and unrelenting passion for civil justice. While she cannot go back and prevent your loss from occurring in the first place, she can expose wrongdoing to bring you peace of mind and help you and your family face a more stable future.
If you live in Philadelphia, Camden, or the surrounding region, call (267) 388-9372 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation. We have handled wrongful death actions on contingency, meaning you pay nothing in legal fees unless we win.
Call (215)-600-1363 today to arrange your private case evaluation with our experienced, caring attorney.