If your loved one has been killed by another person’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to recover damages for your losses.
It is every family’s worst nightmare: a loved one is killed in a tragic accident. In these situations, the last thing that you may be thinking about is a lawsuit. But even if there were no criminal charges filed against the person responsible for the death of your loved one, you may be able to recover damages to compensate you for your loss.
A wrongful death case involves proving that another party was responsible for the death of your family member. It could have happened in any number of ways—perhaps a car accident, a dangerous work condition, or maybe improper medical care were factors. However it occurred, the end result is the same: a person died because another person either did something or failed to do something that they were supposed to do.
Recovery for Wrongful Death
In a wrongful death case, the type of compensation that you receive will depend on the specific facts of your case. As a general rule, however, damages fall into three primary categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are any money-based losses that can be proven. This may include the immediate costs of a loved one’s death, such as medical bills, funeral costs, and legal expenses. It usually also includes income lost as a result of the family member’s death; this calculation would involve looking at the income of the person at the time of the accident and multiplying it by average working life and other factors to come up with an amount that represents what he or she would have made in wages. Economic damages usually also include basic living expenses, such as mortgage payments, and money to pay bills. This helps to keep survivors in the same financial position as they were before the wrongful death.
Non-economic damages are much harder to establish than economic damages because they do not involve set numbers (such as the average monthly bills or yearly income). This amount includes intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, grief, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium. Because these are more challenging to prove, they are often the subject of much litigation: how do you put a dollar figure on the amount of grief that a person has suffered? An experienced wrongful death attorney can assist you in setting a number for the loss that you have experienced.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the person who caused the accident, and to deter others from doing something similar in the future. These damages are not common, and are based on conduct that is usually more than simply negligent. For example, punitive damages may not be awarded in a car accident where a parent was distracted by a crying child (mere negligence), but they may be awarded where an accident was caused because the driver was taking a video of himself speeding through the streets. It is the second situation that the legal system wants to prevent from happening — and that judges and juries typically punish by awarding punitive damages. Your wrongful death attorney will evaluate the facts of your case with you to discuss the possibility to seeking punitive damages.
If a loved one has been killed in an accident, please know that you are not alone — and that help is available. At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our attorneys are skilled at handling all types of personal injury cases, including those involving wrongful death. Contact our office today at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a no-obligation, no-cost consultation. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you!