If a loved one was the victim of a negligent or malicious action that resulted in their death, you may be entitled to seek compensation, also known as damages, for your loss. When filing a wrongful death suit, the plaintiffs are required to make an estimation of the damages incurred by the death of the person they lost. These damages are awarded by a judge following a successful wrongful death claim and typically are broken down into three distinct categories:
"When pursuing a legal wrongful death claim, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiffs."
Economic damages are the result of the loss of of the financial contributions the victim would have made to the survivors. An example might be if the primary breadwinner in the family is killed, leaving only a stay at home parent and children – all surviving parties in this case relied on the income from the decedent. Specific economic damages, according to NOLO, include:
- Medical and funeral expenses for the victim.
- Loss of the victim's expected earnings.
- Loss of reoccurring benefits, like pension plans or medical coverage.
- Loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death.
- Legal fees related to pursuing the claim.
Non-economic damages involve compensation not directly linked to a monetary amount provided by the deceased but still have value. These can include:
- Pain, suffering and mental anguish caused by the death.
- Loss of care or guardianship.
- Loss of companionship or consortium.
Punitive damages are extra damages awarded at a judge's discretion to punish the defendant for particularly egregious acts. Whether or not these can be assigned varies from state to state.
Importantly, when pursuing a legal wrongful death claim, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiffs. This mean that to successful establish a claim, you must be able to prove to the court that the death was indeed caused by actions that could have reasonably been prevented by the defendant.
To make sure you are on the most sturdy legal standing, it helps to have experts by your side. Our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are here for you in your time of need. Contact The Meyers Law Firm today.