Can Grandparents Sue For Wrongful Death?


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When a grandparent loses a grandchild, it’s never easy. But when that grandchild died due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it often causes a whole other range of emotions. Although no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, filing a wrongful death claim against the responsible party can ease some of the financial burdens associated with the death. There are some very specific laws about who can file wrongful death lawsuits for the loss of their loved one, and who can benefit from recovered damages.

What Is The Definition Of Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is typically defined as a death that was caused by a neglect or a wrongful act of another person. That means that the conditions that caused the death must be such that, if the victim had lived, there could have been a valid personal injury claim. In other words, a wrongful death claim can be seen as a personal injury case in which the victim is unavailable to bring the case to court, so another party must file it on the victim’s behalf.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Grandparents are usually not able to sue for wrongful death of a grandchild unless they are appointed as the executor of their grandchild’s estate. It is typically the executor or personal representative of the victim’s estate who files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members. But, any damages that are recovered in the lawsuit are distributed to only those surviving family members who were actually dependent upon the deceased person at the time of their death, or to those who are entitled to inherit from the deceased according to the state’s inheritance laws.

When damages are awarded, the surviving spouse or children come first. It is only when there is no surviving spouse or child that a surviving parent will receive a share, and it is only when there are no surviving parents that grandparents, siblings, nieces, of nephews of the victim can receive damages in the wrongful death case. However, a grandparent who is raising a child may be able to file a wrongful death claim and receive damages that a parent normally would.

What Are The Recoverable Damages For Wrongful Death Cases?

The purpose of wrongful death suits is to compensate the estate and the surviving family members for the losses that they suffered from their loved one’s death. Thus, the damages that may be sued for in wrongful death lawsuits include the following:

  • medical and end-of-life expenses related to the victim’s death
  • damages for the potential lost wages the victim would have earned if he had lived
  • damages for the pain and suffering surviving family members endured due to their loved one’s death
  • punitive damages that are designed to punish the party responsible for the victim’s death (some states do not allow for punitive damages, but Pennsylvania does in some cases)

Are There Time Limits For Filing Wrongful Death Claims?

There is a statute of limitations, or time limit, for wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania of two years. This means that the claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death, or the wrongful death suit will almost certainly be barred from being heard in court.

If you have lost a grandchild or other loved one due to someone else’s negligence, the clock is already ticking on how long you have to make a claim. You must contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you with your case.

Find a Compassionate Attorney For Help With Your Case

Wrongful death suits are complicated, and often require a lot of time – even those that are straightforward. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a grandchild can be even more complicated. Whatever the case, it is always in your best interest to find a compassionate and experienced attorney who will guide and support you through a wrongful death case.

At Ross Feller Casey, we have attorneys who are able to do that. They are ready to provide a free case evaluation. The firm has an unmatched record of winning record-setting personal injury cases throughout Pennsylvania and beyond, including those that involve wrongful death. We also have medical doctors on staff to review medical records and determine where the negligence occurred. Let us help you with your lawsuit. While no amount of money can take away the pain of your loss, it can ease your financial burdens significantly.

Contact the office of Ross Feller Casey to proceed with your claim. All cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you will not have a charge until a financial recovery is made. Please call to speak to one of our wrongful death attorneys today.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.