Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Allegheny County wrongful death verdict of $109 million

We've written in the past about a Pennsylvania woman electrocuted in her own backyard as the result of a fallen power line. A jury recently returned a verdict in the woman's wrongful death lawsuit of $109 million.

This is the largest verdict award to occur in Allegheny County's history. The verdict included a $48 million award for compensatory damages and $61 million award for punitive damages.

The compensatory damages portion of the award included $10 million regarding the woman's wrongful death and loss of companionship to the family, $29 million to the estate for pain and suffering, and various claims for emotional distress for family members that perceived the actual electric shock. These family members would have included the woman's two young daughters.

Though the verdict is substantial, this may not be the end of litigation regarding this matter. Attorneys for the defendants may still appeal this award, and sometimes parties will end up negotiating a settlement rather than going through the entire appeal's process.

Wrongful death lawsuits are often emotional events for the parties involved. Family members often need to relive extremely painful memories of the loss of a loved one.

As in the above circumstance, the woman whose life was shortened was only 39-years old at the time of her death, was the mother of two daughters, was married and likely had a number of other relatives as well. The woman survived three days after the accident with burns from 80 to 90 percent of her body.

The proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit can often allow for the family to survive economically, pay off costs such as medical and funeral expenses that came about because of the accident, and maybe allow for the children to attend college when they get older.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "$109 million electrocution case verdict is Allegheny County's largest," by Amaris Elliot-Engel, Dec. 17, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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