A wrongful death occurs in Pennsylvania when a person is accidentally killed by the negligent, wrongful or unlawfully violent actions of another. Pennsylvania's Wrongful Death Act and Survival Act contain many provisions but arguably the most notable one is that they allow the victim's family and "personal representative" to sue those individuals responsible for the premature death of their loved one. More specifically, the right to sue on a wrongful death action is extended to the victim's spouse, children, parents or a person identified as the. There are also no state residency requirements for these beneficiaries to file their claims.
Another interesting component of the Wrongful Death Act is that it also contains a provision for situations where the decedent had no surviving beneficiaries. In those rare cases, the law allows an individual known as a "personal representative" to file a claim on behalf of the decedent's estate if no other family members have been identified within six months of the wrongful death.