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Monetary Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

By Steve Charpentier on October 10, 2014

Close up of the pyramid on the dollar bill, symbolizing monetary damages in wrongful death casesThe unexpected loss of a loved one can wreak havoc on a family, spiritually, emotionally, and economically. When a loved one is lost to wrongful death - that is, a death caused by someone else’s negligent or deliberately wrongful actions - it can be particularly traumatizing for the family members left behind. While nothing can truly compensate for the loss of a beloved family member, the economic hardships created by the loss can at least be partially made up for by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

During an evaluation of your wrongful death case with our personal injury attorneys in Melbourne, wrongful death damages are among the topics that will be discussed in detail. While we cannot predict, let alone guarantee, your recovery based on our past results, we can give you a fair idea of the sorts of damages to which you may be entitled based on the specific circumstances of your case. Of course, no two cases are alike, and it is only through thorough investigation of your case that we will be able to identify all of your current and future losses and expenses. Until then, we invite you to read the following general information about damages in wrongful death cases, keeping in mind that its applicability to specific cases may vary.

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to compensation for those losses and expenses that have actual, demonstrable dollar amounts attached to them, as opposed to less tangible losses such as loss of companionship. These damages include compensation for losses and expenses that were incurred to date as a result of the incident that resulted in the death as well as those that can be reasonably projected into the future. Common examples include:

  • Hospital, doctors’, and other medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of future benefits, including pension plans and medical coverage
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of future provisions of goods and services based on past provisions of those goods and services by the decedent

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages include compensation for losses suffered by the remaining family that are more difficult to quantify, but nevertheless keenly felt. These damages often include compensation for:

  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium from a spouse
  • Loss of parental guidance and nurturing
  • Loss of companionship

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages refer to monetary damages awarded not to compensate the plaintiff for economic or non-economic losses, but rather to punish the defendant for egregious negligence or acts of deliberate wrongdoing. In most personal injury cases, punitive damages are not awarded because the level of negligence to which an act has to rise is extremely high, bordering on pure malice. This standard is not lowered for wrongful death cases, despite the severity of the injury suffered by the victim and the extraordinary losses suffered by the remaining family members.

Learn More about Wrongful Death Damages

To learn more about wrongful death damages or to arrange for an evaluation of your wrongful death case, please contact our personal injury law firm today.

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