In a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members or beneficiaries may be eligible to seek compensation for various damages resulting from the loss of their loved one. These damages are intended to provide financial support, address the emotional toll of the loss, and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. The types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Here are some common types of damages that may be recoverable:
Economic damages aim to compensate the surviving family members for financial losses directly related to the death. These damages can include:
- Medical Expenses: Reimbursement for the medical bills and expenses incurred in treating the deceased person’s injuries before their death.
- Funeral and Burial Costs: Compensation for the costs associated with the deceased’s funeral, burial, or cremation.
- Lost Wages and Benefits: Compensation for the deceased person’s lost earnings from the time of the injury until their death. This may also include the value of lost benefits, such as health insurance and retirement contributions.
- Loss of Financial Support: The value of financial contributions that the deceased person would have provided to the surviving family members had they survived. This may include lost income, potential future earnings, and other financial support.
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate for the intangible losses and emotional suffering resulting from the death. These damages can include:
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering endured by the deceased person before their death.
- Loss of Companionship: Compensation for the loss of love, affection, and companionship that surviving family members experience due to the death.
- Loss of Consortium: Damages for the loss of the deceased person’s services, assistance, and guidance that the surviving spouse may have relied upon.
- Emotional Distress: Compensation for the emotional trauma, grief, and mental anguish suffered by the surviving family members as a result of the death.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the surviving family members for their losses. Instead, they are intended to punish the defendant for their reckless or intentional actions and deter similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages are typically awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious or showed a willful disregard for the safety of others.
It’s essential to note that the rules and limitations regarding damages in wrongful death lawsuits vary by jurisdiction. Some states have caps on certain types of damages or restrict punitive damages altogether. Additionally, the amount of damages awarded can be influenced by various factors, including the deceased person’s age, occupation, earning potential, and the impact of their death on the surviving family members’ lives.
Calculating the appropriate amount of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be complex. To ensure that the surviving family members receive fair and just compensation, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced wrongful death attorney. An attorney can assess the specific circumstances of the case, gather evidence, consult with experts, and present a strong case for the full extent of the damages suffered by the surviving family members.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to seek the legal help of a seasoned wrongful death lawyer in order to explore all of your legal options.Thank you to our friends at Blitz Law Group, LLP for their insight into wrongful death lawsuits.