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Calculating Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

When an individual dies in a tragic accident caused by another person or entity, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. While nothing can ease the pain of losing someone close to you, filing a wrongful death claim in New York can help you and your family receive the compensation you need to pay for funeral and other related expenses. It can also help your family attain a modicum of closure.

Our Oneonta wrongful death attorneys explain the types of damages you can receive in a wrongful death claim as well as how to calculate them.

What Types of Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Depending on the specifics of your wrongful death claim, you may be entitled to one or more types of damages falling into the following categories:

  • Economic
  • Non-economic
  • Punitive
  • Other

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that have a tangible monetary value.

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Financial contributions the deceased would have made to their family if they had not passed away, like income and inheritance
  • Medical bills for the treatment they received before they died
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more abstract but no less important than economic damages.

Non-economic damages may include one or more of the following:

  • Pain and suffering for the family of the deceased
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive Damages

It is legal to pursue punitive damages in a New York wrongful death claim if your loved one died due to especially reckless or criminal actions, such as being struck by a drunk driver. Medical malpractice and nursing home abuse and neglect claims also may involve punitive damages. However, receiving such damages is very rare in civil wrongful death claims. Speaking to a lawyer will help you assess whether you should pursue punitive damages or not.

Other Damages

You may also be able to receive compensation for other related expenses, such as your attorney’s legal fees. Recovery may also be available in the form of interest on the damages you claim depending on how long the lawsuit takes.

How to Calculate Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

Calculating damages can be a very complicated process, especially because certain damages are more abstract than straightforward, such as pain and suffering. How do you put a price tag on grief?

Most people enlist the help of a lawyer to help them calculate damages, who in turn may also work with expert witnesses, financial advisors, actuaries, and other parties to determine the final cost. The calculation will factor in things like medical bills, funeral expenses, and the monetary value of services and care provided by the deceased, which can include anything from lost wages from their job to childcare if they were a stay-at-home parent.

Because myriad factors go into each wrongful death claim, and every situation is unique, we highly recommend working with a lawyer, or at least a trusted and competent financial or legal advisor, to calculate damages in your wrongful death claim.

Have you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence? Our Oneonta wrongful death attorneys can provide compassionate and comprehensive legal services for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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