The number of fatal car accidents increased in Pennsylvania last year

In early April, PennDOT issued a finalized report on last year's traffic accident data. In 2012, Pennsylvanians faced a higher risk of suffering a fatal accident on the state's roads compared to the previous year.

Uptick in roadway deaths more pronounced in some demographic segments

All told, 1,310 people lost their lives on Pennsylvania roads last year. That was an increase of 24 - around two percent - from 2011.

The best year on record in terms of the fewest Pennsylvania roadway deaths was 2009. In 2009, there were 1,256 traffic fatalities in the state. This means that the number of deaths in 2012 represents an increase over recent years, but was still at a relatively low level historically.

Fatal crashes were up significantly in one demographic. Fatal crashes involving drivers age 65 or older rose from 244 in 2011 to 276 in 2012, an increase of more than 13 percent.

Last year was also more deadly in Pennsylvania for pedestrians and motorcyclists. Pedestrian deaths increased from 149 in 2011 to 168 in 2012; in 2011, 199 motorcyclists lost their lives, compared to 210 in 2012.

Wrongful death actions can help victims' family recover just compensation

If you've lost someone in a motor vehicle accident, nothing can ever replace your loved one. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can help you hold the parties responsible for the accident accountable and provide you with the money you need to get through a tough time.

Under Pennsylvania law, a wrongful death action may be brought for the benefit of the spouse, children or parents of the deceased. If none of these parties are eligible to recover damages, the personal representative of the deceased may bring a legal action to recover reasonable medical, funeral and administrative expenses incurred by reason of the injuries that caused death.

In addition to funeral, medical and administrative expenses, a spouse, child or parent of the deceased may be able to recover for other losses. For example, a beneficiary may receive a monetary award for tangible economic damages, like the loss of the future earnings of the deceased or the loss of medical coverage provided by the deceased. Beneficiaries may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic losses, like the loss of guidance and companionship.

Talk to a Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney today about your case

With traffic deaths on the rise last year, more Pennsylvanians are facing life without a loved one. When fatal accidents were caused by some other person, this at-fault party should be held accountable in a wrongful death action.

If you've lost a loved one, contact a personal injury attorney today; you should be aware that there are strict time limits for bringing a wrongful death action.