A wrongful death lawsuit typically falls into one of two categories: compensate for the suffering of the deceased and compensation to their loved ones because of the death.
Both types of lawsuits may include economic damages, which involve measurable losses, and non-economic damages, which refer to subjective losses the decedent and their loved ones experienced.
The amount of damages awarded in a wrongful death claim is determined by the circumstances of the case and the extent of the losses and suffering.
When a loved one dies as the result of carelessness of another person or organization, family members and estate representatives bring claims for wrongful death. Thousands of people and countless dollars in damages are caused by many situations each year, which is why there are so many potential causes of action in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Personal Injury Damages
The individual who files a wrongful death claim frequently tries to recover compensation that the deceased would have received if they had survived the incident that caused their fatal injuries. These sorts of damages are for the suffering and losses incurred between the time the damage occurred and when the victim died.
The family of a deceased person may be entitled to compensation for medical costs or other healthcare expenses incurred because of an accident or injury caused by someone else if the decedent received emergency medical treatment or incurred other healthcare expenditures before their death.
Many individuals miss time at work owing to the severity of their injuries because of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and other unjust death claims. Even after the deceased has gone, their loved ones may be eligible for compensation for the money that would have been earned by the decedent had he or she been able to work following the incident.
Pain and Suffering
Personal negligence may result in physical, mental, and emotional harm for those who survive injuries. Those that bring personal injury claims might receive compensation for their pain and suffering.
Damages Created by the Loss of the Decedent
When a person who died as a result of someone else’s carelessness loses their life, the loved ones of that individual may be eligible for the damages that accumulated after their death. These might include economic losses as well as mental and emotional anguish they experienced after their loss.
Funeral and Burial Expenses
Wrongful death claims frequently include a request for the burial expenses.
Loss of Future Wages
In a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving spouses and children sue for compensation for the decedent’s lost future earnings. This sort of award allows loved ones who relied on the deceased for financial support to receive compensation.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium, or loss of companionship, is a cause of action available in certain jurisdictions to the victim in a death due to negligence. When an individual loses their spouse, especially at the hands of another person, they may suffer severe emotional trauma. Financial awards might assist them in obtaining the resources they require for psychological recovery.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Each state has its own criteria for who is eligible to file wrongful death claims. The executor of the deceased person’s estate or a close relative are the most common people allowed to file for wrongful death in most states, but either party can sue in some jurisdictions. In California, the following applies to wrongful death claims:
- (a) The decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and issue of deceased children, or, if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.
- (b) Whether or not qualified under subdivision (a), if they were dependent on the decedent, the putative spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents. As used in this subdivision, “putative spouse” means the surviving spouse of a void or voidable marriage who is found by the court to have believed in good faith that the marriage to the decedent was valid.
- (c) A minor, whether or not qualified under subdivision (a) or (b), if, at the time of the decedent’s death, the minor resided for the previous 180 days in the decedent’s household and was dependent on the decedent for one-half or more of the minor’s support.
Source: California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60
HarshLaw Can Help You Seek Damages in Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you were harmed as a result of someone else’s carelessness and lost a loved one, you may be able to seek compensation for financial losses. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact Harsh Law online or at 909-793-6261.