When someone dies as a result of another party’s negligence, his or her surviving family members may be able to pursue financial compensation for the loss of their loved one. This type of lawsuit is called a wrongful death claim. The financial compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim is called damages. In short, a family member was damaged by the other party’s negligence and, consequently, the loss of a loved one.
In a wrongful death claim, various types of damages may be pursued.
Economic damages are damages that can be financially valued. Economic damages often sought in a wrongful death claim include:
· Medical expenses
· Funeral or burial expenses
· Loss of expected earnings (from the deceased)
· Loss of benefits (pension, medical coverage)
· Loss of inheritance
· Value of goods/services provided by the deceased
Economic damages are generally easy to verify because families will have copies of medical records and bills, earnings statements, and tax documents.
Non-economic damages refer to damages that are not tangible or as quickly valued as economic damages. Non-economic damage awards are often higher than economic damages because they impact far more than the victims’ pocketbooks.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
· Pain and suffering of the deceased before his or her death
· Pain and suffering among surviving family members
· Loss of care, guidance, protection, advice and nurturing
· Loss of companionship, love or society
· Loss of consortium (spousal/partner love and sexual relationship)
Non-economic damages are more difficult to verify, but they are incredibly important in a wrongful death claim. It is important to show the court exactly how the loss of a loved one has impacted the family.
Punitive damages are damages meant to punish the defendant (person responsible) for their negligence – be it their action or inaction. Punitive damages are not a substitution for any criminal proceedings, if any, that the defendant may be subject to. Any punitive damages ordered in a wrongful death claim will be in addition to any criminal sanctions.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claim Damages
Every wrongful death claim is unique. The best way to determine what types of damages this type of lawsuit may qualify for is to speak with a skilled wrongful death attorney. If you believe a loved one’s death was wrongful, contact us today. Let our compassionate attorney, Sahar Malek, help your family get justice.