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What damages can be claimed in a wrongful death claim?

A loved one’s unexpected passing is likely to cause you tremendous heartache, as well as significant financial strain. This is particularly true when the death is due to the negligent actions of another party, like when a loved one is killed in a car wreck or some other kind of accident.

In those kinds of situations, it is not uncommon for the victim’s survivors to file a wrongful death claim for the damages that have been done to them.

What are damages in a civil lawsuit?

Damages are essentially a type of monetary settlement that a judge or jury can award to an aggrieved party in a civil case. The purpose of damages is to restore an individual or their surviving loved ones to the financial position they enjoyed before an incident occurred. 

What are compensatory damages?

The vast majority of damages awarded in such lawsuits are considered compensatory, meaning that they are designed to cover a known loss or financial burden on the survivors. Compensatory damages may cover such expenses as: 

  • Funeral expenses for the deceased
  • Burial expenses for the deceased
  • The lost earnings the deceased would have brought to the family
  • The value of the lost services the deceased would have provided their family members

Some states allow the surviving family members to make a claim for the loss of their loved one’s companionship and emotional support, as well.

What are punitive damages?

When someone dies because another party’s actions were wanton, willful and deliberate, the court may impose additional, punitive damages on the defendant. These are basically designed to act as a financial deterrent to anybody who might be tempted to disregard another person’s safety in a similar way.

How can you pursue a wrongful death claim?

Grieving your loved one’s loss is inevitable, but you shouldn’t have to also struggle financially because of someone’s negligence. A wrongful death action can help you put that burden where it belongs: Squarely on the shoulders of the person who caused your loved one’s early death.