Coping with the death of a loved one can feel unbearable at times. Feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration weigh heavy on family members, especially when they know that the death could have been prevented. Bicycle accident fatalities are usually the result of another person’s negligent, careless, or reckless conduct. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 1,000 bicyclists died from injuries sustained in a collision and almost half a million people suffered bicycle-related injuries. If you have lost a loved one as a result of a deadly bicycle crash, you may be entitled to damages. The Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys at Reiff & Bily fight to obtain compensation and justice for families of bicycle accident victims.
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Statute
If your loved one has passed away from injuries related to a bicycle crash, you may be entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Act (42 Pa. C.S. § 8301 et seq.). The Act provides that an action for wrongful death may be brought to recover damages for the death of a victim caused by the illegal violence, wrongful act, or negligence of another. The personal representative of a victim’s estate has the option to file a wrongful death action within 6 months of the date of death. The personal representative is the executor or administrator of the victim’s estate. After 6 months have passed, a beneficiary may bring a wrongful death action as trustee ad litem. Pa.R.Civ.P. 2201, 2202.
Beneficiaries include a victim’s spouse, children and/or parents. The share of damages that a beneficiary can recover is calculated in accordance with the laws governing intestacy in Pennsylvania. If it is determined that a victim has no beneficiaries, the personal representative of the decedent may bring an action to recover damages.
The damages that a victim’s beneficiaries or estate representative may collect include:
- Hospital bills
- Nursing and medical expenses
- Costs of funeral and burial arrangements
- Expenses related to the administration of a victim’s estate
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Bicycle accidents are among the most catastrophic accidents that can occur on the road today. The injuries sustained by bicyclists are typically very severe, and fatalities are not uncommon. If a victim received medical treatment before succumbing to injuries, the medical bills and hospital expenses could cost survivors hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. Thus, it is imperative that loved ones seek the counsel of an experienced Pennsylvania bicycle accident attorney to put themselves in an optimal position for financial recovery.
Pennsylvania’s Survival Action Statute
Pennsylvania’s Survival Action statute (42 Pa. C.S. § 8302) is an action seeking compensation for a deceased victim’s injuries. In essence, the statute provides that injuries “survive” the deceased victim, and it allows for the personal representative of the estate to file a personal injury claim on the victim’s behalf. Damages recovered through a survival action are distributed to the victim’s estate. Damages that a personal representative may be able to collect in a survival action include:
- Pain and suffering from the date of injury until death
- Lost earnings from the date of injury until death
- Future lost earnings through life expectancy
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims
Wrongful death actions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have a 2 year statute of limitations. The statute of limitations expires within 2 years of the date of the victim’s death. In short, a victim’s beneficiaries or personal representative have 2 years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages.
The statute of limitations for survival actions in Pennsylvania are applied differently. There is a 2 year statute of limitations, but it begins to toll from the date the victim was injured, not the date of the victim’s death. The survival action is filed on behalf of the victim by the appointed personal representative. A victim’s personal representative has 2 years from the date of the victim’s injury to file a survival action to recover damages.
Philadelphia Bicycle Accident and Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one in a deadly bicycle crash is a devastating and traumatic event. While you are coping with your loss, the last thing on your mind might be to file a lawsuit. Let the Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys at Reiff & Bily fight to hold responsible parties accountable for the death of your loved one. The attorneys and Reiff & Bily pride themselves in providing compassionate yet aggressive representation to the families of victims so that they can receive compensation and justice for the losses they have suffered. Time is of the essence, and 2 years can pass by quickly. Call the office of Reiff & Bily today at (215) 274-0072 to schedule a free and confidential consultations with an attorney you can trust.