When a loved one dies, the pain is indescribable. Often, the toll it has on a family is enormous – both emotionally and financially. When the death is due to the negligence of another party, however, the sense of loss is combined with anger. In these instances, the family may seek a wrongful death claim. But what kind of damages can you pursue in a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful Death Damages
When the surviving family members (the estate) of an individual who dies because of the negligence of another party file suit, it is known as a wrongful death claim. When the family files, they may seek a variety of different types of damages.
The types of damages available to these survivors vary from state to state but generally fall into three distinct categories: economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to the financial shortfalls the family may face after the death of the individual. These economic damages include the financial contributions the person would likely make were they still alive, as well as costs associated with their death. These associated costs include:
- Funeral expenses for the deceased
- Medical costs related to the care of the deceased
- Any loss of benefits the dead would have received
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of benefits
- The value of the goods and services the deceased would have performed.
Non-economic damages are less tangible than economic ones, though they often have much more personal value to a grieving family. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Loss of care, guidance, advice or protection
- Any mental anguish or grief the survivor’s experience
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of love, companionship, or emotional support
Punitive damages differ from economic damages in that they are a punishment for negligence. Punitive damages punish the defendant for their irresponsible or negligent behavior and are meant to act as a deterrent for all future conduct. In many states, punitive damages are not available in negligence or wrongful death claims. In other states, these damages are not possible against government agencies or different types of defendants. In states where punitive damages are available, there is usually a cap on what can be awarded, which is generally three-times the actual amount of economic and non-economic damages awarded.
Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Because of the complexity of wrongful death cases, as well as the variances in damages available to survivors in each state, it is essential that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
Thomas J. Henry has the legal and financial resources to help you claim the compensation you deserve. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable personal injury has the expertise to handle your claim – no matter where you live. Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, meaning we provide our clients with the most up-to-date information about their claim, and offer respectful, compassionate and comfortable care throughout the legal process.
Make sure you contact the largest and most successful personal injury firm in Texas. Thomas J. Henry has the experience, expertise, and determination to get our clients the large settlements and verdicts they deserve. Call Thomas J. Henry today at 361-221-5053.