Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Laws

The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Rules can be found in Pa. R.C.P. No. 2202.  Pursuant to the Act, an action for wrongful death shall be brought only by the personal representative of the decedent for the benefit of those persons entitled by law to recover damages for such wrongful death.

If no action for wrongful death has been brought within six months after the death of the decedent, the action may be brought by the personal representative or by any person entitled by law to recover damages in such action as trustee ad litem on behalf of all persons entitled to share in the damages.

While an action is pending, it shall operate as a bar against the bringing of any other action for such wrongful death[i].

In actions pending in a county which involve a common question of law or fact or which arise from the same transaction or occurrence, the court on its own motion or on the motion of any party may order a joint hearing or trial of any matter in issue in the actions, may order the actions consolidated, and may make orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay. The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, may on its own motion or on motion of any party order a separate trial of any cause of action, claim, or counterclaim, set-off, or cross-suit, or of any separate issue, or of any number of causes of action, claims, counterclaims, set-offs, cross-suits, or issues.

A cause of action for the wrongful death of a decedent and a cause of action for the injuries of the decedent which survive his or her death may be enforced in one action, but if independent actions are commenced they shall be consolidated for trial.

[i] Pa. R.C.P. No. 2202.


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