In Pennsylvania if someone dies and at the time of their death they had a viable lawsuit for personal injuries, the decedent’s legal representative (either the Executor the decedent appointed in his will, or an Administrator the court has appointed) may hire a lawyer and bring a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Damages recoverable under the Survivor act are to compensate the estate for the losses suffered by the decedent.
Damages may be awarded for pain and suffering that the decedent suffered prior to his death and also for loss of income that the decedent will no longer earn. The loss of income is calculated by taking the amount of gross income and fringe benefits the decedent would have earned during the course of his work life expectancy less the projected and probable cost of his personal maintenance (the money he would have spent on himself) during that period.
If the decedent was retired at the time of his death the estate can recover the value of the loss of future social security benefits the decedent would likely have received less a personal maintenance deduction.
The damages recovered go directly to the estate and pass through the estate to either the beneficiaries appointed in the decedent’s will, or if no will, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Intestacy laws. If you have questions regarding Pennsylvania’s Survivor Act, please contact me to set up a free consultation here in my firm’s Yardley, PA office.