What Damages Are Available In Wrongful Death Cases?
A sad reality is that many families and friends have to endure the tragic death of their loved ones every year. When a person dies in an unnatural way because of another person’s negligence, this is known as a wrongful death. Generally, every state has their own laws on who can recover and how much you can recover from a wrongful death lawsuit. The laws of every state will indicate who will be able to file the lawsuit and the “cap” that has been placed, depending on what type of wrongful death claim is being filed.
You might be wondering how much you will recover, but the only true fact that can be given is the type of damages you would be entitled to receive. Giving an exact amount as to how much you would be compensated for is an unrealistic idea. No wrongful death lawyer will be able to tell you exactly how much you would recover, and if they do, it is probably just an estimation based on their previous experiences and knowledge.
Losing a loved one is not easy. It is something you will never forget, but seeking some form of justice for your loved one’s death will serve to help you will the burdens that you will face. Not only is filing a wrongful death claim to receive compensation, but it will also deter the individual responsible for their death in causing another family the same pain you are currently experiencing.
Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Deaths
“Damages” refers to the harms that come from losing your loved one. It is what will be used to calculate the amount of money you would be recovering from your wrongful death lawsuit if you win. If you are a survivor of the victim of a wrongful death, you will generally be entitled to receive three types of damages, those include:
- Specific damages
- General damages, and
- Punitive damages
Specific damages(economic damages) are damages that you can physically calculate. For example, how much will the funeral cost? How many days of work will you miss? Did the victim have any pending medical bills? Those are some examples of specific damages you can give a number to it.
General damages(non-economic damages) are damages that are not so easily calculated. For example, how much ‘pain and suffering’ did you experience? Did you lose and companion? Did you lose someone who provided you with services? Did you require psychological therapy for your trauma? These are damages that are calculated by the jury and judge based on their own judgment.
Punitive damages might be awarded or might not be. This depends on whether the jury and judge believe that the defendant acted with bad conduct. The objective for awarding this is not to compensate you for your damages, but rather to punish the defendant for their misconduct.
Every case will be unique, which is why giving an exact number as to how much you would be compensated for is impossible. Speaking to a wrongful death attorney will be able to tell you exactly what you can recover.
Benjamin Drake is a California personal injury attorney and founder of Drake Law Firm located in Los Angeles. A law firm dedicated to all injured with outmost attention and deserved compensation.