The Law Offices of Daniel L. Crandall & Associates

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What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death claim?

The loss of a loved one is a very challenging event to overcome. No matter the age of the person, when a loved one is suddenly taken from you because of the negligence of another party, this can be a shocking, traumatic and overwhelming time. While it might seem impossible to move past this tragedy, it is possible to process this event and move forward. While no amount of money can bring a loved one back, a compensation award could help offset the damages caused by the event.

What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death claim? A wrongful death claim is used by surviving family members to not only hold a negligent party accountable for his or her wrongdoings but is also used to help offset the losses and damages suffered because of the fatal incident. Thus, if you have lost a loved one because of a negligent driver, doctor or property owner, a wrongful death suit could prove to be very beneficial.

Financial or pecuniary losses could be recovered in a wrongful death action. This type of damage is measured by considering various financial factors. These typically include the loss of support, services, prospect of inheritances, medical bills and funeral costs. This could also include losses such as loss of companionship, which could be asserted by a spouse. Children could also assert they loss support from a parent. Pecuniary loss is best determined by considering certain characteristic of the victim, such as their age, earning capacity, life expectancy, health and intelligence.

Punitive damages could also be recovered in a wrongful death suit. These are only awarded in certain situations that involve serious or malicious wrongdoings. Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the wrongdoer. Additionally, this also helps deter others from acting in a similar way.

Although no monetary award can right the wrongs that are caused by a wrongful death, a fatal accident is likely to generate many losses and damages. Thus, it is important for surviving loved ones to assess their rights and options when it comes to recovering compensation.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed Sept. 10, 2017

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