by tfarino



What Is Recoverable in Wrongful Death Claims?

It’s always terrible when you lose a loved one, but when it involves a wrongful death situation, it’s even worse. The surviving family members can suffer unimaginable grief as well as financial hardship. There are laws in place that allow the decedent’s survivors to recover certain damages in a wrongful death claim.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death case is legal action taken by the survivors of a person who died as a result of negligence or the intentional act of another. In general, one person from the deceased’s family is able to file a lawsuit. These claims go through the civil court system rather than the criminal court. A personal injury lawyer represents the survivors in their claim.

What Categories of Damages Can Be Claimed?

There are two distinct categories of recoverable damages the surviving family members can claim in a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, these are separated by time.

One category involves recovering damages the decedent experienced at the time of the negligent or intentional act leading to their death up until they actually died. For instance, if the individual was in a car accident, any injuries they suffered before their death can be recovered. This includes medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and funeral and burial expenses.

The second category involves the damages suffered by the decedent’s surviving family members after the death. It involves compensation to the survivors to cover the financial losses they suffer as a result of the loss of their loved one. For example, if the deceased was a husband and father who financially supported his wife and young child, they would be due compensation. Lost wages and even the expected retirement would be part of this category of damages recoverable. In some cases, loss of consortium can also be claimed as part of the damages. This is when the surviving spouse is deprived of the love and companionship of the decedent.

Who Can Recover Damages?

The court allows certain survivors to claim damages in a wrongful death claim. Factors are taken into consideration, such as the relationship between the deceased and their survivors. Generally, those who can recover damages include:

• Spouses. The spouse of a person lost to wrongful death can claim both financial and emotional damages.

• Children. Minor children are entitled to damages such as the loss of their relationship with the deceased parent.

• Parents. If the decedent was a minor child, the parents can claim wrongful death damages for emotional trauma.

Overall, the court can also award the surviving family members punitive damages as well, if it finds an intentional act leading to the death as being particularly reckless.