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Types Of Damages Pursued In Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful Death Lawyer

In wrongful death claims, damages are sought to compensate the surviving family members for the losses they have suffered due to the untimely death of their loved one. These damages are intended to provide financial support, cover expenses, and address the emotional and psychological impact of the loss. The types of damages that can be collected in wrongful death claims may vary depending on jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Here are some common types of damages awarded in wrongful death claims:

Economic Damages

Economic damages aim to compensate the surviving family members for the financial losses incurred as a result of the wrongful death. These damages typically include:

  • Medical Expenses – This includes reimbursement for the medical treatment and care the deceased received prior to their death, as well as any expenses related to emergency services, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and therapies.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs – The cost of funeral services, cremation, burial plot, headstone, and related expenses can be claimed in a wrongful death claim.
  • Lost Income – If the deceased was the primary earner or contributed financially to the family, the claim may include the value of the lost income, including wages, bonuses, and future earnings. This calculation may consider factors such as the deceased’s age, occupation, earning capacity, and work-life expectancy.
  • Loss of Benefits – If the deceased provided health insurance, pension plans, or other benefits, the surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for the value of these lost benefits.
  • ¬†Loss of Household Services- This includes the value of the household services that the deceased provided, such as childcare, housekeeping, cooking, and maintenance. The claim may seek compensation for the cost of hiring someone to replace those services.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages account for the intangible losses suffered by the surviving family members due to the wrongful death. These damages are more challenging to quantify, as they involve subjective factors. Common types of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and Suffering – This includes the physical and emotional pain endured by the deceased before their death and the mental anguish experienced by the surviving family members due to the loss.
  • Loss of Companionship and Consortium – The loss of companionship, love, support, guidance, and nurturing from the deceased can have a profound impact on the surviving family members. Damages may be awarded to compensate for this loss.
  • Emotional Distress – The emotional distress, grief, and psychological trauma experienced by the surviving family members due to the loss of their loved one can be considered for compensation.

Punitive Damages

In certain cases involving extreme negligence, intentional misconduct, or recklessness, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are meant to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future. These damages go beyond compensating the family for their losses and are intended to serve as a deterrent and hold the wrongdoer accountable.

The availability and calculation of damages may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Some jurisdictions may place limits on the amount of damages that can be awarded in wrongful death claims. Consulting with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you understand the applicable laws and pursue the maximum compensation available.

Thank you to our friends at Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight about wrongful death.