Lawyers For The People

What can you recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Wrongful Death

Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed when the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity causes an individual’s death. These legal actions request compensation for the losses experienced by the decedent’s relatives or dependents.

Understanding the types of damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit is essential for those considering legal action under such tragic circumstances.

Economic damages

Economic damages are measurable financial losses resulting from the death. These can include medical expenses incurred before the death, funeral and burial costs, loss of the decedent’s expected earnings, loss of benefits such as medical coverage or pension plans and the value of goods and services the decedent would have provided.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are more subjective and are intended to compensate for the intangible losses suffered by the survivors. These can encompass loss of companionship, care and guidance. It can also include mental anguish or pain and suffering experienced by the survivors due to the loss of their loved one.

Punitive damages

In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded. These aren’t tied to a specific loss suffered by the survivors but are intended to punish the defendant for their negligence or misconduct and to deter similar behaviors in the future. However, punitive damages are only possible in very specific circumstances in Delaware and New York.

Who can file a wrongful death claim

There are limitations to who can file a wrongful death claim. Typically, immediate family members like spouses and children, including adopted children, and parents of unmarried children can file a wrongful death claim.

In certain cases, others financially dependent on the decedent, like life partners or dependents, might have the standing to sue. Generally, the claim is filed by a representative of the decedent’s estate, often on behalf of surviving family members affected by the death.

Filing a wrongful death claim is a complex undertaking. Working with someone familiar with jurisdictional laws and requirements for accomplishing this aim may help to reduce the stress from the individuals who want to file. This can enable them to focus on healing from their loss.