What Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do?


Wrongful death cases can be quite complicated. People whose loved ones died as the result of someone else’s wrongful actions are often curious why they need to hire a wrongful death lawyer. What do these lawyers actually do? Below is an abbreviated list of the many tasks a wrongful death lawyer does to ensure your wrongful death lawsuit is successful.




In your wrongful death lawsuit, there are several rules with which to comply.

There is a statute of limitations. This is the rule that requires you to file a lawsuit within two years of the date of death. Failure to do this precludes you from ever filing the wrongful death claim. Two years may seem like a long time, but your wrongful death attorney will need ample time to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’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 your loved one’s death. They will need to fully understand whether someone or multiple people are at fault for your loved one’s death.

There are estate rules. If your loved one died without a will, the court may appoint a personal representative called an “administrator.” An administrator of an estate may be a surviving spouse, other family member, or family friend. The administrator collects all the assets of the decedent, pays creditors, and distributes remaining assets to heirs or other beneficiaries.  

If your loved one died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” has similar responsibilities to the administrator in that they must collect assets, make sure all debts and taxes are paid, and then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with law and the will.


The other important function of an administrator or an executor is the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Your wrongful death lawyer helps ensure that you comply with the estate rules.




To have a successful outcome of your wrongful death case, your wrongful death lawyer will have to prove that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care, which they breached. And by breaching that duty, your loved one died as a result. This may sound simple, but it is often quite complicated and your lawyer may have to spend several hours evaluating evidence and writing memoranda of law on this important issue of liability.




After the wrongful death Complaint is filed, there is a sometimes lengthy process called “discovery,” where the lawyers on both sides gather and exchange evidence. This is the period in which depositions (recordings of sworn testimony) are taken. After the discovery period has concluded, your wrongful death attorney prepares to go to trial.





The trial may take anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on how complicated the case is. Some trials can last longer than that. Sometimes, there’s a wrongful death settlement before or during trial. If the case doesn’t settle before the jury returns with their verdict, then it’s the verdict that determines the outcome of your wrongful death trial.



A wrongful death attorney evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for wrongful death damages. They know how to work with bereaved families to help them achieve a fair outcome for their wrongful death claim.

Under Pennsylvania’s wrongful death statute, 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, burial and funeral costs, and estate administration costs.


Non-economic damages are not quantifiable – they are more of a subjective assessment of the

sad consequences of a wrongful death. They include loss of companionship and pain and suffering.


Your wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia will work with you to establish the extent of your damages and to make sure that the Complaint that they file contains all possible causes of actions and claims for damages.


An experienced wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia can walk you through all the important steps. Find one now at  VSCP Law.


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