Types of Damages for Wrongful Death

When a loved one passes away unexpectedly due to the negligence of another person, there is nothing that can be done to heal the pain of their loss and nothing that can fill the space their absence leaves behind. That is why pursuing a wrongful death claim may seem meaningless in the moment since it will not help to heal any emotional wounds caused by the passing of someone close to you. However, a wrongful death claim can take care of the financial burden left in their wake.

That is because a wrongful death claim can cover funeral expenses as well as any economic losses suffered by those closest to the decedent (the person that passed away). You will need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney if you want the best chance of recovering the compensation to which you are due. If you live in the Long Island area, then you should contact the Harrison Law Group if you need help with your wrongful death case.

The Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

You are eligible for a variety of different damages in a wrongful death case, all of which are meant to offer financial support to the surviving family members of the decedent. There are slight variations in the types of damages available depending on the state in which the wrongful death occurred, but in general the following damages are included:

  • Funeral expenses

  • Medical bills during the period in which the decedent was still alive

  • The pain and suffering of the deceased before their death

  • Loss of future income from the decedent

  • Loss of companionship

  • Loss of consortium

  • Loss of parental guidance

  • The pain and suffering of the decedent’s surviving family members

If the person died because of deliberate or hateful actions by a perpetrator, then the decedent’s family can seek punitive damages as well. The damages listed above are meant to help support the decedent’s remaining family members, but punitive damages are meant to punish the person responsible for the decedent’s passing if their actions were deliberate.

How to Calculate the Damages in a Wrongful Death

While it is impossible to put a value on a human life, the damages caused by someone’s death need to be calculated in order to compensate the remaining family members. When calculating the damages caused by a person’s untimely death due to the negligence of another, the following factors are taken into account:

  • The past earnings of the decedent

  • The life expectancy of the decedent

  • Future earnings of the decedent, which are based on their past earnings and life expectancy

  • The health of the decedent prior to the accident that led to their death

  • How much the decedent contributed to the home

Damages may also be awarded for the pain and suffering and emotional trauma suffered by the decedent before they died. There is not a measurable monetary value to those factors so it has to be estimated.

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death

The people who suffer financially from the loss of the decedent are the ones who can file a lawsuit for wrongful death. They are called the real parties in interest and some of them can vary from state to state, however the following parties are eligible to sue for wrongful death in every state:

  • The spouse of the deceased

  • The children of the deceased, including adopted children

  • The parents if the decedent was unmarried and has no children

If the children of the decedent are under the age of eighteen, then a representative of the decedent’s estate will file a lawsuit on their behalf. In some states, more distant relations can file a wrongful death suit, such as siblings, life partners, financial dependents, and grandparents.

Contact an Attorney if You Have Suffered a Wrongful Death in the Family

A wrongful death lawsuit can help to bring some financial relief to the family members of the person who passed away. A personal injury attorney will quietly and efficiently handle the legal matters while respectfully giving the decedent’s family space to grieve. It might not be the first instinct to contact a personal injury lawyer after a loved one passes away, but it is necessary so that there is one less thing that you need to worry about.

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