Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Law

Last week, we wrote about how New Jersey might be coming of age and allowing pain and suffering damages as a component of their lost wage claims. The Pennsylvania legislature should also take a long look. Currently, the only way to obtain a significant recovery in a wrongful death case is having financial loss from the wrongful death because Pennsylvania does not allow pain and suffering or any type of emotional loss damages in wrongful death cases. See Marko v. Philadelphia Transportation Co., 216 A.2d 502, 503 (Pa. 1966). Accordingly, the damages recoverable in a wrongful death action include the present value of the services the deceased would have rendered to the family, had he or she lived, and funeral and medical expenses. But when you lose a spouse or a child, what is the primary loss? It is certainly not economic, and it is not loss of services. It is the loss of your husband or wife, the loss of your child. This is a law that needs to be changed.

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