Losing a loved one is a devastating experience. When someone else’s negligence causes the death, it can be even more difficult to cope. In such cases, the deceased’s family may seek compensation for their loss by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
How are damages calculated in a wrongful death case? A wrongful death lawyer from John Foy & Associates can help you understand the various aspects of determining damages in wrongful death cases, including economic and non-economic damages, the role of the plaintiff’s relationship to the deceased, and factors that may impact the award amount.
Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim is a civil action brought against a person or entity responsible for the death of another individual due to their negligence or intentional harm. These claims aim to compensate the deceased’s surviving family members for their losses, including medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional pain and suffering. It is important to understand that wrongful death claims are separate from any criminal charges that may be filed against the responsible party.
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Economic Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Economic damages, also known as pecuniary damages, refer to the financial losses the deceased’s family suffered due to the wrongful death. These damages can be categorized into the following categories.
This includes the cost of medical treatment and care provided to the deceased before their death. Medical expenses may comprise hospital bills, doctor’s fees, prescription medications, and other healthcare-related costs incurred due to the injury that led to the wrongful death.
Funeral and Burial Expenses
Funeral and burial expenses cover the costs of the deceased’s final arrangements, such as the funeral service, burial, or cremation. These expenses may vary depending on the family’s preferences and the arrangements made.
Loss of Income and Earnings Capacity
One of the most significant economic damages in a wrongful death case is the loss of the deceased’s future income and earning capacity. Factors like the deceased’s age, occupation, education, and projected career trajectory are considered to calculate this. This figure may include the deceased’s wages, benefits, potential promotions, and the value of any lost pension or retirement benefits.
Loss of Services and Support
This refers to the monetary value of the services and support the deceased would have provided their family had they lived. It can include childcare, household chores, maintenance, and any other contributions the deceased would have made to their family’s well-being.
Non-Economic Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases can result in significant emotional and psychological harm to surviving family members. Non-economic damages refer to the intangible losses suffered by the deceased person’s family members, including emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium. These damages are meant to compensate the family members for the emotional and psychological toll of the wrongful death.
Non-economic damages in wrongful death cases can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the laws of the state where the case is being litigated. Some states place caps on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case, while others do not.
In addition to non-economic damages, surviving family members may also be entitled to economic damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and funeral expenses. It is important to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine the full scope of damages in a particular case.
Contributory negligence is a legal term that refers to a situation in which the deceased person contributed to their own death through their own negligent actions. In a wrongful death case, if the court finds that the deceased person was partially responsible for their own death, the number of damages awarded to the surviving family members may be reduced.
For example, if the deceased person was involved in a car accident and was not wearing a seatbelt, the court may find that they contributed to their own injuries and death. In this case, the court may reduce the damages awarded to the surviving family members to account for the deceased person’s negligence.
In some cases, the parties may be able to reach a settlement agreement without going to trial. A settlement is a negotiated agreement in which the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain amount in exchange for the plaintiff dropping the lawsuit. Settlements can be quicker and less expensive to resolve a wrongful death case, but working with an attorney is important to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Choosing the Right Attorney
Choosing the right attorney is crucial in filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an attorney:
- Experience: Look for an attorney who has experience handling wrongful death cases. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
- Track record: Check the attorney’s track record of success in handling wrongful death cases. Look for an attorney with a history of achieving favorable client outcomes.
- Communication: Choose an attorney who communicates clearly and regularly with you about the progress of your case. They should respond to your questions and concerns and provide regular updates.
- Compassion: Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional experience. Choose an attorney who is compassionate and understanding and will provide you with the support you need during this challenging time.
- Resources: Look for an attorney with the resources necessary to handle your case effectively. This includes access to expert witnesses, financial resources to cover the costs of the case, and a team of skilled support staff to assist with the case.
Contact John Foy & Associates for a Wrongful Death Lawyer
By taking the time to research and choose the right attorney, you can ensure that you have the best possible representation for your wrongful death case. A skilled and compassionate wrongful death lawyer from John Foy & Associates can help you navigate the legal process and achieve a fair and just outcome for your case. Contact us today.