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Aug 15, 2018 6632times

What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

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What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Case? www.dolmanlaw.com

Wrongful Death Case-

An action (civil) brought by the survivors or the estate of a person who died due to the neglect or deliberate acts of another is called a “wrongful death” claim. Each state has a particular set of rules overseeing wrongful death claims, including regulations recognizing who can file for a wrongful death lawsuit in the state's court system. Usually, a family member or the personal agent of the deceased’s property will be able to file the suit. The rules of each state also define when this kind of case must be filed, and the different types of damages that can be obtained.

What are the Various Kinds of Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?

Damages in a wrongful death case usually fall into two general categories, which are frequently defined by two distinct time periods.

The first category allows recovery of damages endured by the deceased from the time of the negligent act producing the death, until the time of the decedent’s passing. As an example, in the event of a car accident, this would cover the time from the experience of the crash until the deceased person's eventual death beginning from their accident injuries. That could occur hours, maybe weeks following the accident. The particular damages in this category might cover medical costs, the deceased’s person's mental and physical pain, the deceased’s lost earnings and funeral expenses.

The second broad category of damages includes those losses endured by the next of kin after the deceased’s passing. This category of damages is intended to compensate the family survivors for their financial losses. The laws of the various states show that these damages are generally intended to restore the value of money that the deceased would have earned were it not for the unfortunate death. It covers the lost wages that would have been earned until the deceased’s expected retirement.

Some states also permit claims for “loss of consortium.” This is when a spouse or immediate family members are stripped of the deceased’s companionship. This is especially notable when an adult parent dies and leaves behind minor children who are stripped of the guidance from the parent.

Who Can Be Awarded Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?

In deciding what types of damages will be granted in a wrongful death lawsuit, a court will look at various factors encompassing the deceased and his or her relationships with the surviving family members. Usually, wrongful death damages can be awarded to:

Spouses –
The spouse usually has a claim for the lost companionship that emerged from the deceased’s passing, as well as for the spouse’s emotional trauma resulting from the death.

Children –
Minor children could also be awarded damages for the loss of their relationship with the late parent, and this includes loss of comfort and support.

Parents –
Parents of a minor child who has passed away can also recover some damages for their emotional health and the lost "parent to child" relationship that they had with the kid.

Depending on the conditions of the deceased’s passing, courts can also award punitive damages to the family members. Punitive damages can be granted where the defendant engaged in a reckless type of conduct ending in the deceased person's death. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and to prevent similar behavior in the future.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 August 2018 10:32


   Gerald J. Davis is a trial attorney and Vietnam Veteran. He received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1997.Mr. Davis retired as a “State Trooper” from the State of South Carolina in 1994. During his tenure with the Highway Patrol, he investigated accidents and made arrests for various criminal and traffic violations. This valuable experience makes him uniquely qualified as a trial attorney to represent his clients with knowledge and skills gained from all sides of a wide spectrum of diverse issues.

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