Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Lawyers

Compassionate Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Attorneys Who Will Stand Up and Fight for You

The city of Pittsburgh is nothing if not a survivor. It endured the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s to reemerge as a diverse, revitalized economy that spans Allegheny County as well as the six nearby counties that together make up the Greater Pittsburgh Region. Not all of its citizens have been so lucky, however.

A wrongful death occurs when someone who was injured, under circumstances that would justify a personal injury claim, dies from that injury. In Pittsburgh, wrongful death claims are governed by Pennsylvania’s wrongful death law.

Culpable Conduct

In most (but not all) wrongful death claims, you must prove that the defendant engaged in culpable conduct to win your claim. Five main standards apply, depending on the circumstances and the type of claim, in ascending order of culpability:

  • Ordinary negligence: Normally, this refers to general carelessness – running a traffic light, for example. 
  • Gross negligence: Gross negligence is extreme negligence. Falling asleep at the wheel, for example, might qualify.
  • Recklessness: To act recklessly is to act with full knowledge of the possible harmful consequences, even if you did not intend the results. Racing on a public road, for example, might qualify.
  • Intentional misconduct: A beating incident to a robbery or a car accident deliberately caused by someone in a fit of “road rage” would qualify as intentional misconduct.
  • Strict liability: Strict liability can be applied, for example, when you sue the manufacturer of a dangerous product that killed someone. When the product is proven to be defective, the plaintiff must only show that they were harmed because of said defect. 

Gross negligence, recklessness, and intentional misconduct can sometimes justify an additional award of punitive damages.

Damages

Damages that could be available in a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Estate administration expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages of the deceased
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Loss of household services, companionship, comfort, moral guidance, and emotional support for the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents

Damages go to the estate, except for the last item, where damages go to the deceased victim’s surviving spouse, children, or parents – if any of these relatives survive the victim.

Practice Areas

In addition to wrongful death claims, we frequently handle the following types of claims

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I afford to pay a Pittsburgh wrongful death attorney to handle my claim for me?

At KDS Legal, we don’t charge our clients anything until and unless we win the case. Even then, our compensation is calculated as a percentage of the amount you win.

Who selects the personal representative of the victim’s estate who files the wrongful death lawsuit?

That depends on whether the deceased left a valid will:

  • If the victim left a valid will that names a personal representative, the probate court will probably appoint the person named in the will (it is not required to, however).
  • If the victim did not leave a valid will, the court will probably select the personal representative from among the victim’s surviving relatives, concerning the victim’s spouse.

What is the legal deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?

The general rule in Pennsylvania is that you have until the second anniversary of the victim’s date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are limited exceptions to this rule.

Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit while the defendant is facing criminal charges?

Yes, you can. There is no reason why a wrongful death lawsuit and a criminal prosecution cannot be ongoing at the same time. 

The Statute of Limitations Clock Is Ticking – Contact KDS Legal Today

If your loved one died for reasons that you believe may be attributable to the wrongful conduct of someone else, contact a Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer at KDS Legal. Call or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.

We serve clients in Oakland, East Liberty, Squirrel Hill, and elsewhere in Pittsburgh as well as throughout Western Pennsylvania. And if you can’t come to us, we can come to visit you at your home.