Losing a loved one is never easy. When that loss is the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, the grief and pain can be even more difficult to bear. While compensation will not bring your loved one back, a wrongful death claim can help you cover some of the expenses that came with their passing. Additionally, it can hold the person responsible for their death accountable for their actions.
Here’s what you should know about the various types of wrongful death damages that you may be able to recover in a civil lawsuit.
What is wrongful death?
First, it’s important to understand what “wrongful death” means. Legally, the term signifies a scenario in which an individual or entity causes someone’s death through their wrongful act, neglect, or default. Several situations, such as car accidents, medical malpractice and defective products, may lead to wrongful death.
Types of wrongful death damages
Depending on the circumstances, courts award a few different types of compensation after a wrongful death. These damages fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages refer to financial losses that you have suffered as a result of your loved one’s death. These can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses: These are expenses that you incur as a result of your loved one’s death, including funeral expenses, burial expenses, and any related costs such as transportation.
- Loss of income: If your loved one was the primary breadwinner in your family, you may be entitled to compensation for the income that they would have earned had they lived.
- Loss of services: This includes compensation for the value of services that your loved one would have provided, such as childcare, housekeeping, and home maintenance.
Non-economic damages refer to the emotional pain and suffering that you have experienced as a result of your loved one’s death. These can include:
- Loss of companionship and support: This includes compensation for the loss of your loved one’s companionship, love, and support.
- Emotional distress: Courts award this type of damages If you have suffered emotional distress as a result of your loved one’s death.
- Pain and suffering: If your loved one suffered before their death, you may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering.
In some cases, the court may award include punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages. The intent behind punitive damages is to punish the defendant for their wrongful actions and to deter them from similar behavior in the future. However, courts only award punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious.
Losing a loved one is never easy. When that loss is the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, the grief and pain can be even more difficult to bear. A skilled and compassionate attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can guide you through the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim.