Losing a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence is emotionally and sometimes physically devastating.
Understandably, filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party that caused the death may not be the first thing you think about.
But a successful claim can help to restore some of your unexpected loss-related expenses.
The following may also be helpful to get you started.
What Financial Recovery Is Possible in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Generally, a claimant may bring a wrongful death suit against one or more parties for actual damages.
Actual damages consist of two subcategories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages reimburse a claimant for actual monetary losses, including:
- Lost earning ability and missed wages;
- Medical bills;
- Value of lost services lost (e.g., childcare and house upkeep), and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages are slightly more challenging to calculate. They include loss of companionship and support, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
A claimant can also request exemplary damages, otherwise known as punitive damages.
Courts award punitive damages to punish the negligent party and prevent future similar misconduct. Punitive damages are less frequently awarded.
However, if a claimant can show that the liable party acted recklessly or with an extreme degree of irresponsibility, a jury may award punitive damages.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?
You might be wondering how wrongful death damages are calculated?
Because it is challenging to place a monetary value on someone’s life, damage amounts vary and depend on individual case facts.
For the most part, courts base damages on objective evidence.
Economists, accountants, the claimant’s witnesses, and other qualified witnesses often determine the value of this evidence.
But a judge or jurors are ultimately responsible for deciding what figure most accurately represents the claimant’s losses.
Important considerations include:
- The decedent’s age;
- The decedent’s health before their death;
- The decedent’s earning capacity;
- The decedent’s training, background, and education;
- The circumstances and age of the decedent’s dependents;
- Value of lost benefits (health insurance, pensions); and
- The decedent’s medical bills.
The severity of the decedent’s injuries, the anguish, pain, and loss of companionship endured by surviving loved ones, and the level of negligence that led to the fatality are other influencing factors.
Our Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help You Achieve a Fair Settlement
At Armstrong, Lee & Baker LLP, our wrongful death attorneys draw on a strong and diverse body of expertise and experiences to provide you with fierce advocacy and support during a difficult time.
We understand the damage the untimely and wrongful death of a loved one can cause, and we have dedicated our careers to fighting for our client’s rights.
Our attorneys will hold all responsible parties accountable, ensuring you receive the total compensation you deserve.