How to calculate wrongful death damages


Losing a loved one is never easy, and your loss can become even more complicated when it occurs as a result of the negligence of another. We all accept death as the natural end of a well-lived life, but when a loved one dies senselessly it can be difficult for surviving loved ones to adapt to the loss. Working with a skilled wrongful death attorney can help families get the compensation they deserve after an unexpected loss. While nothing can ever bring a loved one home again, a top-quality legal team can help mitigate some of the financial losses that stem from a wrongful death.

What are damages in a wrongful death case?

A wrongful death lawsuit is one in which the loss of life took place as a result of the negligence of another party. There are many types of incidents that can lead to a wrongful death case. Some examples include death brought on by:

  • Car accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Medical malpractice
  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Birth injuries
  • Premises accidents
  • Product defects
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect

This is far from a comprehensive list. Many different things can lead to a wrongful death, and not all cases are crystal clear.

How do I know what to expect in terms of damages?

Just as no two individuals are exactly alike, no two wrongful death cases are identical. Your case is structured around the life of your loved one, and every effort is made to ensure your family is fairly compensated for the loss.

Damages is the legal term for money received in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Damages are generally divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages

These types of damages are objective and are often easier to calculate than non-economic damages. They include specific financial losses and expenses that are the direct result of the wrongful death. An example of economic damages is the cost of your loved one’s final arrangements, meaning funeral and burial expenses.

Medical bills are another type of economic damages, and if your loved one needed extensive care prior to death these costs can quickly add up. If the deceased family member was earning money at the time of death or was expected to bring in financial contributions to the family, the value of those lost wages can also be part of the wrongful death case.

Economic damages are relatively straightforward to calculate. The amounts are tallied by examining medical bills, paystubs, funeral bills and other paperwork. The total earning potential can be calculated by gathering data on the type of employment and the age of the deceased worker.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are more challenging to quantify. These are losses that don’t have a distinct price tag, but that are nonetheless worthy of compensation. Pain and suffering is perhaps the most well-known type of non-economic damages. Putting a price tag on loss is never easy, which is why it is important to construct a clear legal argument for these types of damages.

When the lost family member is a parent of minor children, non-economic damages might also include the loss of guidance, nurturing, care, and training that parents provide to their kids. A spouse might be entitled to loss of love, companionship, and comfort.

In order to receive fair compensation for non-economic damages, a wrongful death case needs to be extremely nuanced. If the case goes before a court of law, a jury will decide how much the surviving loved ones should receive. Presenting a clear view of all that the family has lost is essential to a fair and favorable wrongful death outcome.

How do I move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit?

The first step is to reach out to a skilled and experienced wrongful death attorney. Be prepared to share the details of your loss, including the circumstances that led to the loss of life. The first step in preparing a wrongful death case is determining that another party acted in a negligent manner to bring about the death.

Once those facts have been clearly established, the matter of damages will be examined. You may need to bring in invoices and receipts, and you’ll be asked to share how the loss has impacted you and your family. From start to finish, you’ll have the compassion and support of a skilled legal team with the goal of helping your family move forward after the loss of a loved one.

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