You can sue for wrongful death when a person’s negligent actions cause the death of a spouse, child or other family member. Wrongful death can stem from a number of different causes, such as car accidents, boating accidents, manufacturer defects, and medical malpractice. If you have to sue because of a wrongful death, you’ll need to know what damages can be included in your claim. Here’s how damages are broken up and the most common examples that are covered.
Types of Damages
Damages can be split into the categories of economic, non-economic or punitive. Just as the name suggests, economic damages compensate losses with exact financial value that can be easily calculated. Non-economic damages are losses that never had a cost attached to them, but that you believe you deserve because of the death. Finally, punitive damages are awarded to the survivors when the judge determines that the defendant should pay more to serve as punishment for their negligent acts.
Examples of Economic Damages
Anything related to someone’s wrongful death that already costs money can be included as an economic damage. Medical bills that the deceased racked up before their death may be claimed to keep survivors from going into debt. Funeral expenses can be incredibly costly, so survivors may also claim coverage for them in the lawsuit. Other examples are work-related, such as the wages or benefits the deceased would have otherwise received and used to support survivors in the future.
Examples of Non-Economic Damages
Any damages that don’t fall into the economic category may be things like pain and suffering, which have no monetary value but should be compensated because of the trouble they have caused the survivors. Survivors can also claim the guidance, protection, care, or companionship that they would have received from the deceased. Since all of these factors can have a great impact on those left behind, they can be included in the claim.
This form of compensation may not be accessible in your state under a wrongful death lawsuit, so check state laws to see if you can claim it before filing. The point of these damages is to punish the liable party to dissuade them or other parties from similar negligent actions in the future. If a loved one was a victim of abuse in a nursing home, you may be able to get up to three times the amount of the other damages. Discuss this with a wrongful death lawyer in Buffalo, NY, like from Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP, to explore your options.