What Types of Damages Can Be Sought in a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case is a stressful and upsetting situation to be in. Obviously, losing a loved one is one of the worst things a person can ever experience. However, another stressful aspect of a wrongful death case is the process of the case itself. One question that goes through many a claimant’s mind, however, is what types of damages can be sought in a wrongful death case.
Types of damages in a wrongful death case
There are certain things that must be considered when dealing with a wrongful death case. For example, each state is going to have different types of damages that are available, and different states are going to different ways of handling the damage caps. Caps are more prevalent in incidents to do with medical malpractice. With that said, here are some common damage types.
Medical and funeral damages
As part of the wrongful death case, it is entirely likely that you will have incurred medical expenses associated with the victim, as well as the funeral costs for them.
Loss of the victim’s earnings
In many cases, a person will be dependent on the victim’s earnings, and as such, losing that person’s earnings means that they suddenly have to find a way to earn for themselves.
Loss of benefits
A person may have medical coverage or pension benefits through their late partner and losing out on that all of a sudden can be extremely devastating.
Loss of inheritance
This is a bit of a fringe situation, but in situations where a person is intending to give them a part of the inheritance, but an untimely passing results in that inheritance becoming inaccessible to that person.
Loss of goods and services
The victim may have provided certain goods and services that were highly essential to the people who survived them, and the lack of goods and services from the victim negatively impacts a person’s quality of life.
Survivors’ pain and suffering
This is a lot less tangible and, as a result, harder to prove, than economic damages, but paid and suffering is very much a real issue that the victims’ survivors may struggle with. The loss of a loved one, especially in a sudden incident where the survivors have no way to prepare for this loss, is devastating, and it can cause long-term mental anguish. A therapist’s testimony can prove to be an invaluable piece of proof for this.
Loss of care and guidance
A victim may be a pillar of support for the survivors, and in turn, their loss of life often means that their care and guidance is now absent. This is often the case when a child loses a parent.
Loss of companionship
No matter if it is a parent, child, or partner, that loss of companionship may change a survivor’s life completely. The loneliness that can be produced from no longer having that companionship is profound.
Loss of consortium
Consortium basically means losing a certain degree of affection and sexual relations as a result of losing a spouse. While many types of affection are important, the kind of affection between two spouses is something special, and often irreplaceable.
These kinds of damages basically exist to ensure that the person responsible for the victim’s death have a financial incentive to not engage in this behavior in the future. Most states — including the District of Columbia — have punitive damages as an option, with only seven being the exception. That said, some states have certain limitations on how punitive damages can be applied.
When a person files a lawsuit against someone for causing the wrongful death of a loved one, they are inevitably going to incur certain attorneys’ fees as a result. If you manage to win the case, it makes sense that someone should be reimbursed for the cost of getting appropriate compensation. A person may feel inclined to try to get this done without an attorney, but unfortunately, wrongful death lawsuits can be complex. As such, you want to make sure that you have a competent and qualified attorney on your side to increase your chance of victory.
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