While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
A wrongful death suit, a form of a personal injury case, can be filed when a loved one's death has been caused due to the poor planning or negligence of another entity, be it a person, institution, company, etc. This can be a very trying time for anyone's family. If successfully prosecuted, a wrongful death suit means you will receive damages, or compensation, for the death that has been caused. With regards to wrongful death suits, there are generally three forms of damages that are available to you. All of these types of damages are dependent on a period of time from when the death took place.
The first category of damages that can be awarded to the plaintiff are expenses that are accrued over the period of time from which the accident in which the plaintiff caused the damages to the defendant's loved one up until the period of time in which the defendant's loved one died.
This can fall under a wide umbrella of expenses, including medical expenses and any mental anguish that the deceased and his or her loved ones suffered during this time. For example, if the plaintiff was the cause of a car accident that caused the injuries of the defendant's loved one which caused him or her to be critically injured and then to eventually die, then the plaintiff would be responsible for all of the medical or hospital bills up until the time that the defendant's loved one perished.
This can also include even more than that. For example, if the loved one had wages lost due to he or she missing work during this period of time, the defendant would be responsible for those damages as well. Funeral costs may also be included in the amount of damages that the plaintiff should be awarded.
The second category of damages refers to the losses experienced by the next of kin after the deceased's passing. This is meant to cover the damages that the loved one would have been able to provide to his or her next of kin and is generally meant to cover the losses on behalf of the deceased's children.
Generally speaking, the law requires that the plaintiff must compensate the next of kin to the tune of how much income the deceased would have generated in between his or her death and his or her expected time of retirement. This can be an ample sum, and as such, is generally not to be delivered in a lump sum, but over time, to the deceased's next of kin.
This category is generally referred to as loss of consortium. This is the type of damage that is non-physical in nature, and as such, assigning a monetary value to it can be a bit tricky and the amount awarded to the plaintiff varies from case to case.
Loss of consortium refers to the loss of companionship that occurs due to the untimely death of a loved one, particularly a spouse or a parental figure. The latter case generally tends to generate a larger sum of damages awarded, since it is generally believed that a parental figure acts a source of guidance to a child, while a spouse can move on to find another beloved.
Loss of consortium damages can be sought, not only if there was a wrongful death, but can also be sought in instances where a person is left paralyzed, brain damaged, or otherwise severely injured in an enduring manner.
Hopefully, this article has shed a bit of light on the subject of the types of damages awarded in a wrongful death suit. Talk with your lawyer to help you best decide what sort of damages you should seek out in your wrongful death case. Click for more info here.