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It is essential to know who represents the estate prior to filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Connect with your wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia so they can help guide you through the confusing rules. Below is a selection of frequently asked questions (and corresponding answers) about wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania.

WHAT IF THERE IS A WILL?

If the decedent died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” or “executrix” represents the estate of the decedent. This executor or executrix may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

WHAT IF THERE IS NO WILL?

If the decedent died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member would be assigned personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a close friend or someone else to be a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Whether a family member or not, the personal representative appointed by the court is called an “administrator” or “administratrix.” This administrator and administratrix may file a wrongful death suit.

WHO ELSE CAN SUE?

No one. Other than the court-appointed administrator or the will-stipulated executor (both referred to as the “personal representative”), no one else may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

WHAT DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE HAVE TO DO BEFORE FILING THE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?

Before filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the administrator or executor must “raise an estate” (or “open an estate”). They must go to the Register of Wills, armed with various documents such as a death certificate, a will (if there is one), valid ID, etc. The process can be complicated depending on whether there is a will, whether the will is contested, etc. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia can walk you through the necessary steps so that you have what you need to file the wrongful death lawsuit.

WHEN DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE HAVE TO FILE THE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?

Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, the personal representative has two years after the official death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute or the statute of limitations.

Two years may seem like a long time, but the wrongful death attorneys will need ample time to investigate the circumstances surrounding the decedent’s death. They will need to order records such as medical records or employment records. They will need to talk with various individuals who were involved in or had substantial knowledge about the circumstances leading up to the death. Thus, in order to comply with the wrongful death statute of limitations, the personal representative should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

WHO COLLECTS COMPENSATION FROM THE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?

Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, there is a limited selection of individuals who can collect wrongful death damages in Pennsylvania. The beneficiaries, and the specific percentages, are set by Pennsylvania statutes.

You should hire a wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia to help you with all of the difficult stages of the claim, including these very preliminary ones. To talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact the lawyers at VSCP Law.

People often wonder what is involved in the building and completion of a medical malpractice case. Below is a general list of the various steps that take a case from inception to conclusion.

1. DETERMINING WHETHER THERE’S A CASE

Initially, after you believe your loved one has suffered from a medical mistake, you should contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer. They will want to review medical records, health summaries, hospital notes, lab results, and all other necessary paperwork to fully understand the actions (and sometimes inactions) of the health care staff who may have been responsible for the medical mistake.

2. GETTING AN EXPERT INVOLVED IN THE CASE

Once your Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney has determined that medical negligence likely caused your loved one’s injuries, they will connect with a proper expert. The expert must be in the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who harmed your loved one. For instance, if your loved one’s injuries occurred during gastrointestinal surgery, your medical malpractice attorney will likely discuss the case with an expert who is a gastrointestinal surgeon.

3. FILING THE COMPLAINT AND CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

Assuming the expert described above agrees that a medical error took place and caused your loved one’s injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit. Your Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney will file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in the court. And thus begins your formal lawsuit against the defendants.

4. CONDUCTING DISCOVERY

Your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia and the defendants’ attorney will then engage in “discovery.” Discovery is a process by which information is exchanged between both sides. Your attorney will want to see all the medical records, staff notes, entry forms, etc. that help paint a picture of the defendants’ actions and inactions that led to your loved one’s injuries. The defendants’ attorney will want to see any records that establish your loved one’s injuries, like physical therapy records, disability reports, etc.

After (and sometimes while) paperwork is exchanged, the attorneys will conduct depositions. Depositions are recorded interviews of important witnesses who are under oath. Many different individuals may be deposed such as, treating doctors, nurses, hospital staff, hospital administrators, and family members of the injured person.

5. TRYING THE CASE

The next stage is to go to trial and present the case to a jury or judge. At this stage, many of the same people who were deposed will be asked to testify. The experts your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia hired will have to testify as well as the experts hired by the defendants’ attorney.

Sometimes the parties will settle the case before it gets to the trial stage. And sometimes a case will settle during the trial. But if the case did not settle before or during the trial, then the trial results in a verdict determining whether the defendants were in fact liable for your loved one’s injuries.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania will help you win your medical malpractice case. Find one at VSCP Law.

A personal injury attorney may be the key to your successful personal injury case. Here are five reasons you should hire one.

1. A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY WILL INVESTIGATE – FOR FREE

It’s very possible that someone else is responsible for your injuries. Either through their actions or inactions, someone else caused you to suffer an injury. The only way to truly know whether someone else played a part in your injuries is to hire a Philadelphia personal injury attorney. Your attorney will investigate the facts leading up to your injuries and make a professional determination as to whether the other person was negligent and thus liable to you for your injuries.

Your attorney will gather evidence that is critical to your case. If you were injured in a slip and fall, your attorney might collect building records, weather history, janitorial schedules, etc. If you were injured in a car accident, your attorney might gather auto mechanic invoices, cell phone records, and the defendants’ driving records. Other examples of evidence that your Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer will collect include witness statements, photographs and videos, and all physical objects that are related to the events leading up to your injury.

And after all that, if your personal injury lawyer determines that there is no negligence that caused your injury and there is no one to sue, you won’t lose any money. Your attorney undergoes all that investigation at zero initial cost to you.

2. A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER WILL HIRE THE RIGHT (AND BEST) EXPERTS

In many cases, a personal injury lawsuit is complicated and requires expert review and analysis. Your personal injury lawyer in Scranton has access to the best experts in the country. They will ensure that the most appropriate and qualified experts review your case. And they will ensure that those experts write an ironclad report to bolster your claim in court.

3. A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER KNOWS THE VALUE OF YOUR CASE

People tend to (wrongly) think they can keep things simple by handling everything by themselves. They don’t want to get lawyers involved because they worry that there are hidden costs or that it will take too much effort or time. When you file a claim with your insurance company, the insurance company may try to convince you that they can handle everything. More often than not, an insurance company will undervalue your case. In other words, they will tell you that they can only collect a certain amount of money (because that is the maximum amount they’d be able to collect for you). Whatever amount the insurance company tells you is typically far less than what a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can collect for you.

4. A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY WILL GET YOU MONEY FOR YOUR INJURIES

Under Pennsylvania law, there are two main categories of compensation: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are quantifiable; the exact figure can be established with documentation. They include lost wages, medical expenses, and future health-related costs.
Non-economic damages are not quantifiable – they are more of a subjective assessment of your suffering. They include loss of companionship, embarrassment, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering.

Your personal injury lawyer in Pennsylvania knows how to build a case that is designed to help compensate you for your suffering and make sure that you get the most money possible for your injuries.

5. A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY WILL PRESERVE ANY AND ALL NECESSARY EVIDENCE

An experienced personal injury attorney knows what actions must be taken early in the process such as ordering medical records; reviewing police reports; and collecting witness statements, photographs, and videos. The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could determine whether your lawsuit is successful or not.

Much of the critical evidence is in the possession of the defendant and if those items aren’t requested early in the process, the defendant could destroy them.

Thus, you need a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to preserve any and all necessary evidence.

To find an experienced personal injury in Philadelphia or Scranton, Pennsylvania to represent you, contact the attorneys at VSCP Law.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth injuries affect 3% of all babies born in the United States. A birth injury refers to damage caused to a baby shortly before, during, or after their birth. Birth injuries can result in permanent damage to the baby that will last into childhood and adulthood. Common birth injuries as a result of negligence at and/or around the time of delivery include bone fracture, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus, vacuum extraction complications, brain damage, and encephalopathy.
If you believe your child suffered a birth injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit and get compensated for the various costs involved with a child who has been injured. This article explores why you should hire a birth injury lawyer who specializes in birth injury law in the City of Philadelphia – and how to find the right birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia.

WHY DO I NEED TO HIRE A PHILADELPHIA BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEY?

The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania includes the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. The Court of Common Pleas has more than one hundred judges and handles a wide variety of cases including birth injury cases.

Some states have a unified judicial system. In New Jersey, for instance, the same rules and forms and procedures apply whether you file a lawsuit in Camden County, New Jersey or Union County, New Jersey. Pennsylvania, however, does not have a unified judicial system. Every county is different. Practicing law in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania is very different from practicing law in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania or Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There are special forms, filings, procedures, and processes that attorneys practicing law in other counties would find downright confusing. If you plan to hire a lawyer for a birth injury that occurred in Philadelphia, you should hire a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer.

A Philadelphia birth injury attorney knows the ins and outs of the complicated Philadelphia judicial system, has the necessary contacts at the various large Philadelphia-based medical institutions, and knows how to navigate every crucial stage of a successful birth injury case in Philadelphia.

HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEY IN PHILADELPHIA?

When you do a Google search, you may find that a lot of lawyers in Philadelphia appear to handle birth injury cases. If you click on the “Practice Areas” tab of their websites, you’ll see “birth injury” listed. That means very little. It’s very possible that no attorneys in that firm have ever handled a birth injury case. The words “birth injury” on their website just means the lawyers in that firm are willing to handle a birth injury case. Again, it’s highly possible that no one in that firm ever worked on a birth injury case.

If your child needed braces to correct an overbite, you wouldn’t take them to a dentist. You would take them to an orthodontist. You would take them to the professional who has the specific training necessary to solve the problem you bring to them.

Check out the profile pages of the attorneys at the firms you’re considering. Are there specific examples of birth injury cases listed? Check out the media tabs – are there news articles about birth injury cases? Check out their resources tab – do they offer resources on birth injuries? Do they have a blog where they discuss birth injuries? If yes, these are all indications that the attorneys have solid experience handling birth injury cases and that they will be the right birth injury attorneys for your case.

If you believe your loved one has suffered a birth injury, contact the experienced birth injury attorneys at VSCP Law.

If you believe your loved one has died as the result of the actions or omissions of someone else, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Read on to understand what you should expect in your initial meetings with a wrongful death lawyer.

GATHER INFORMATION

When you meet with a wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia, try to have with you documents that will be necessary in determining whether you have a viable case. Documents that may be necessary include: death certificate, decedent’s work history, will, and medical records. Your wrongful death attorney will also want to review your loved one’s personal items, like their cell phone, which may have pictures, videos, emails, texts, and other media which may help establish their health and well-being prior to their death. All of this data, while admittedly personal, can help to build the wrongful death case. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia has the difficult task of piecing all of these items together to establish liability on the part of the defendants, as well as to build the damages portion of the case.

IDENTIFY THE PLAINTIFF

The “plaintiff” is the person who has the right to sue — that is, to bring the wrongful death case. Your Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney will need to figure out whether you can be the plaintiff. Only personal representatives of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

If the decedent died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” or “executrix” represents the estate of the decedent. This executor or executrix may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

If the decedent died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member would be assigned personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a close friend or someone else to be a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Whether a family member or not, the personal representative appointed by the court is called an “administrator” or “administratrix.” This administrator or administrator may file a wrongful death suit.

Thus, if you are either the administrator/administratrix or the executor/executrix, you will be able to be the plaintiff and file the wrongful death lawsuit.

SIGN FORMS

Once it has been established that you are a personal representative (again, either an administrator or executor), you will have to sign various forms so that your Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can file the lawsuit. The forms will give the wrongful death lawyer the right to obtain life insurance information, financial reports, employment records, and medical records to prove your case.

But before the Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer can use any of these forms to obtain all that crucial information, you need to sign a Contingent Fee Agreement with them. This agreement establishes the client-attorney relationship. It stipulates that you, the client, do not need to pay the lawyer anything upfront. The lawyer will assume all the costs and expenses to build and try your case. The lawyer only gets paid back for all of those costs and expenses (and all of their time and effort) if the lawsuit is successful. So, in the event of a successful outcome, a portion of the award goes to your wrongful death lawyer.

To find a wrongful death lawyer in Pennsylvania who will build and try your case successfully, contact the attorneys at VSCP Law.