You can't. No amount of money can ever replace a loved one.
However, the Pennsylvania justice system has created a very specific, detailed way of calculating the amount of money survivors should receive in the event of a wrongful death. You'll see from our explanation below that this compensation is not designed to assign a value to your loved one's life.
Rather, the system mainly calculates the economic hardships your family could experience because of your loved one's death. It's a way to help secure your financial future and a way to hold the responsible party accountable for your loss.
There are two different acts under which you can file a wrongful death claim. You can claim different "damages", or monetary compensation, under each one:
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act – under this act you can claim:
Pennsylvania Survival Act – under this act you can claim:
The laws surrounding these acts are very complicated, and it's in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney to handle your claim. We've helped clients navigate the legal system after losing a loved one, and we can help you as well. Call us at 1-866-943-3427 or fill out the form at the top right of this page. We're available 24/7.
If your loved one is killed in an accident and didn't have a will, Pennsylvania laws dictate who should receive compensation and how assets are divided. The laws are complicated and depend on your individual situation. However, they're designed to first protect a surviving spouse and/or surviving children, and money is granted in the following people in this order:
Again, it's important to contact an attorney who has experience handling wrongful death claims. The attorney can help you open and handle your loved one's estate, and will interpret and apply Pennsylvania's wrongful death laws.