What types of damages are available in a wrongful death action?

The wrongful death of a loved one can leave a family reeling from both emotional and financial damage. Unexpected bills and burdens present extreme financial hardship. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to help ease those burdens and provide means for a family to pick up the pieces and move forward without those undue hardships.

A wrongful death case may be brought against a defendant by a survivor, or the estate, of the deceased. Typically, survivors will be a spouse, children, or parents. Damages are awarded to a plaintiff in two broad categories. The first category taken into consideration involves damages and expenses incurred from the exact moment the action took place which caused the death up until the moment the death actually occurred. These can encompass a wide timeframe, ranging from minutes, weeks, or even months. Items taken into account for this time period include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and funeral and burial expenses.

The second category for which damages can be awarded are for losses incurred by a survivor after a loved one's death. These damages may include lost wages of the deceased calculated from the date of death up until the date which he or she would have been expected to retire. These funds are intended to compensate the survivor for the unexpected financial loss.

Some states also allow a claim for what is known as "loss of consortium" which means that a spouse or family member is deprived of the expected love and companionship of the deceased. These claims can be particularly important when the deceased was a parent of a minor child who will no longer benefit from their guidance. To learn more about the types of damages available through a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving families can reach out to a trustworthy legal professional.

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