Medical Malpractice

There’s nothing worse than losing someone you love without warning. Whether it’s due to an accident, negligence, or another unfortunate situation, there are few things worse than knowing that their death could have been prevented as well. If someone you love–whether it be a spouse, parent, or child–has lost their life due to someone else’s mistakes, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden alone. You can seek damages for the wrongful death your family has experienced, and the right wrongful death attorney can help. Contact the wrongful death attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. to help.

What are Common Causes of Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death cases don’t apply to everyone who passes before their time. A wrongful death has to include an act of negligence that directly or indirectly leads to the death of another. This does not apply to certain types of employment like those in the military or law enforcement, whose employment is considered dangerous to their person. Wrongful death also doesn’t include accidents caused by unpredictable weather and criminal activity. This means wrongful death causes include but are not limited to:

  • Automobile accidents: If someone’s poor driving and/or navigational skills lead them to cause an accident that ends another person’s life, they can be sued for wrongful death.
  • Workplace injuries: This is when an employer and/or employees don’t follow proper safety regulations, and then an employee dies in an accident caused by their workplace environment. The employer can then be sued for wrongful death.
  • Defective products: If any product fails to work as it was advertised, and then leads to someone or fails to stop someone from dying, the manufacturer, seller, or development company can be sued for wrongful death.
  • Dangerous and defective property: When a property is mismanaged or negligently treated, the owners are responsible for any injuries that happen on their property. This applies to both residential and commercial properties, and both types of owners can be sued for wrongful death.
  • Medical Malpractice: If a medical professional fails to give proper medical care due to negligence, overworking, or misdiagnosis and the patient dies, the doctor and/or hospital can be sued for wrongful death.
  • Pharmacy error: If someone is given the wrong prescription and dies due to its effects on their body, the pharmacy or the doctor writing the prescription can be responsible for the wrongful death. In this case, there would need to be an investigation. If the deceased were factually informed of the drug’s side effects and how it may worsen their condition, then the family would not be able to sue for wrongful death.
  • Medical device malfunction: If a medical device malfunctions and leads to someone losing their life, several different entities may be responsible. If it was the wrong medical device, the responsibility belongs to the doctor and their hospital. If the device was correctly prescribed but incorrectly manufactured, the manufacturer is responsible. When the device could never properly do as intended, it is the fault of the development company that designed the device.
  • Nursing home negligence: If your loved one dies in a nursing home because the staff did not properly care for them rather than natural causes, they can be sued for wrongful death.

Wrongful deaths are not limited to incidents where someone dies at the scene or soon after the accident. If someone suffers injuries that assuredly lead to their death at a later date, their loved ones can still file a wrongful death case.

Who Can File for Wrongful Death Cases?

Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes Annotated (PA CSA) §8301 specifies that only direct family members can sue on behalf of the deceased for wrongful death. Direct family members include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents

In terms of parents, legal guardians can also file a wrongful death lawsuit. This means if the deceased’s legal guardian was their grandparent, sibling, or another relative then that relative could sue for wrongful death. If they were not the deceased’s legal guardian then they cannot sue for wrongful death in the state of Pennsylvania.

Out-of-State Wrongful Deaths

Wrongful death cases are handled in the state where the deceased lost their life, or in the case of workplace injuries, where their employer is located. This means family members who live outside of Pennsylvania while the deceased died in Pennsylvania can still file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania courts. The rules of their home state would not apply in most instances.

What Should You Do if You Experienced a Wrongful Death in Your Family?

The wrongful death of a loved one is devastating. If a family member or loved one has died because of the wrongful act of someone, whether it’s from a trucking or car crash, medical malpractice, or product liability, the legal team at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. is here to help.

Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. has successfully represented families in wrongful lawsuits for decades. Our team of attorneys has won millions of dollars in compensation for families suffering the loss of a loved one. If your family member or loved one died due to the fault of a third party, we can help. Contact us today.