When someone dies a result of another party’s negligence, there are two separate and distinct categories of damages which may be sought in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania law, the heirs of the victim can recover both Wrongful Death Damages and Survival Action Damages.
Wrongful Death Damages are those of the heirs of the decedent. They are not subject to estate or inheritance taxes and they cannot be decreased by any creditor claims on the Estate. The portion of the award attributable to Wrongful Death Damages is disbursed to the victim’s heirs according to Pennsylvania’s intestacy laws and NOT the victim’s will. Wrongful Death Damages include, but are not limited to the following:
- Spouses’ loss of consortium, companionship, society and services
- Children’s loss of services, guidance and tutelage of a parent
- Parents’ loss of services of a child
- Funeral Expenses
- Medical Expenses
Survival Action Damages are those of the decedent himself. This category of damages is made up of the type of damages the victim could have brought him or herself, had the victim not died. Survival damages are subject to estate and inheritance taxes and can be decreased by any creditor claims on the Estate. The portion of the award attributable to Survival damages is disbursed according to the victim’s will (or if there is no will, then pursuant to Pennsylvania intestacy laws). Survival Damages include, but are not limited to the following:
- The victim’s pain and suffering from the time the negligence occurred until death
- The loss of earnings from the time the negligence occurred until death
- The loss of future earnings through life expectancy
If you or someone you know has recently lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, contact the experienced wrongful death attorneys at Fodera & Long.