Damages for Wrongful Death
If your loved one has died due to a car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, or other personal injury, you may be entitled to compensation. The amount of compensation will vary from case to case, but it will fit into one or more predictable categories. Here are the areas where the court could award you a monetary amount for your wrongful death case.
Medical and burial expenses
The medical costs that your loved one incurred as part of the circumstances surrounding their wrongful death can be tremendous. In addition, a funeral is often the second-most expensive thing that most families will ever pay for after the purchase of their home. Courts can award you all these expenses back, so be careful to keep good receipts.
Loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse
“Loss of consortium” is just a fancy legal way of saying that when your spouse dies, you are deprived of all the benefits that came with that. No one will ever love you like they did. No one will ever replace them. You have lost their companionship, their sexual relations, their understanding of you and all your inside jokes, their care and affection, and their economic support. Of course, there’s no way to put a true monetary value on this, but the court can award you an amount for this.
The mental pain and anguish suffered by the deceased
In many wrongful death cases, your loved one suffered mental pain and anguish leading up to their death, and not just the death itself. The duration, extent, and severity of their mental pain and anguish may vary, but your wrongful death lawyer will know how to argue for your maximum compensation.
The pecuniary loss to the survivors
Pecuniary is another fancy legal word that means “financial” or “monetary.” When a person dies, the financial support that they provided to their family stops. The court will calculate items like the loss of income, benefits, potential earnings, and financial support. They will calculate this by taking into account the person’s age, occupation, earning capacity, health habits, and probable duration of life.
The grief and loss of companionship of the children and parents of the decedent
The spouse isn’t the only one who suffers when a person dies. The children and parents also suffer grief and loss, and the court can award a monetary amount for their suffering.
Punitive or exemplary damages
Punitive means “for punishment” and exemplary means “to make an example of someone.” These types of damages are not awarded in every case. However, when the circumstances are particularly bad, the judge may say, “In order to deter anyone in the future from trying something similar, I’m going to tack on this extra large amount of money so that others will think twice before repeating this action.”
In the case of the death of a child
If the person who wrongfully died was a child, the court can award the following types of damages:
- Medical and burial expenses
- Loss of anticipated services and support
- Loss of companionship and love of the child
- Destruction of parent-child relationship
- Loss of money that the parents or guardian spent in support, maintenance and education of the child