The death of a loved one is a very traumatic event for the survivors. In the past, no one could file a claim in the event of a death because, under common law, a dead person could not sue. Fortunately, states have corrected the legal loophole that allowed those responsible for the death of others to be free from civil action by enacting wrongful death laws.
Generally, under these statutes, when a person is killed by another person’s malpractice, negligence, recklessness, action, or inaction, the deceased’s spouse or close family member can file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for losses resulting from their loved one’s death.
If one of your loved ones has died because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another, you may be eligible to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Please contact us today to speak with a caring and qualified personal injury attorney who can evaluate your claim free of charge.
Wrongful Death Claims: Losses and Recovery
Those pursuing a wrongful death claim may be entitled to recover compensation for many of the costs and losses associated with a loved one’s death. The recoverable losses vary from state to state, but often include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical costs
- Loss of the deceased’s anticipated future earnings
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of inheritance caused by an untimely death
- Loss of companionship, care, or protection
- Mental anguish
The victim’s loved one may also be eligible to recover punitive damages, which are awarded not to reward the family but to punish the defendant. This is generally true of cases where it is proven that the defendant caused the death intentionally or through extremely bad conduct.
Wrongful Death Damages
Wrongful death damages usually depend upon the relationship of the plaintiff to the deceased. Specific wrongful death damages available to parents include loss of companionship and mental anguish caused by their child’s death. Wrongful death damages in the death of a minor child may include potential financial contributions from the said child. Wrongful death damages for spouses include loss of companionship, potential financial contributions, and mental anguish. The wrongful death damages awarded to children after the death of a parent vary based upon age.
Wrongful death damages for all children usually include mental anguish and loss of companionship. Minors can recover wrongful death damages for monies the deceased would have contributed to raising the child. Adult children who claim wrongful death damages can include the sum the parent would reasonably and probably have contributed to them.
Occasionally, wrongful death damages include loss of inheritance, as well as punitive damages. In many cases, wrongful death damages may be awarded to any member of the deceased’s estate (anyone named in the will). In a number of states, wrongful death claims include the full value of the life of the defendant, without subtracting any expenses. Wrongful death claims also generally cover medical and funeral expenses, as well as pain and suffering before death.
It is important to note that all wrongful death claims are subject to a statute of limitations, which varies by state and determines the amount of time an individual has to file a legal claim. A qualified attorney can inform you of the statute of limitations in your state.
If you think you may have a wrongful death claim, please contact us for a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer who will evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you get the compensation you may be entitled to.