Wrongful Death Damages

Jun 16

When someone who is loved dies at the hands of a reckless individual, it is up to the family to seek justice. Although it is normal for surviving family members to hesitate before filing a lawsuit, it may be the only way to hold the other party accountable. Nothing will be able to correct the terrible events that took place, but financial compensation can at least ease the burden moving forward. Whether you are facing a personal injury lawsuit or in need of an attorney to hold someone else responsible for their negligent actions, it is a good idea to understand the types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Are Damages?

The term “damages” refers to the amount of financial compensation the guilty party owes to the grieving family, and it is an amount determined by the judge and possibly a jury. No amount of money can equate to a human life, but some cases cary steeper financial awards than others. For instance, if an adult family member who earns a considerable portion of the family’s income is killed, the law is more likely to award more money than if a young child meets the same fate. This is largely because of the greater financial burden that is now placed on the surviving family members who were dependent on that person’s contribution to afford things like food, medicine, and education.

Damages Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Each wrongful death case is different and complex, and it will be up to your lawyer’s ability to calculate the amount of damages that should be argued before the judge. The amount of damages is determined by the following factors:

  • Medical Bills – Sometimes the deceased received significant medical treatments in an attempt to keep them alive. Things such as emergency surgeries, ambulance rides, and careflights are very expensive. When the court awards these damages to the family, it alleviates some of the financial burden they now face.
  • Funeral Expenses – Funerals are costly, and your loved one deserves to be remembered well. The judge may award these damages to prevent the family from having to bear this economic responsibility.
  • Lost Income – This is an important damage to be considered by the court. If the deceased was a strong contributor to the family’s financial earnings, their death can cause the family’s financial future to become unstable. The courts often turn to independent counsel to calculate the anticipated income for years into the future, and take into consideration economic impacts such as inflation, life expectancy, and the victim’s health.
  • Pain and Suffering – Although this is not always awarded, it can contribute significantly to the total amount of damages.  Pain and suffering goes beyond grief, and may be awarded to a family member who witnessed the death.

These are only some of the types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. To learn more about your rights, contact a trustworthy attorney in your area.

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