Compensation for Wrongful Death Cases
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Suit?
When your loved one dies because of someone’s negligence or wrongdoing, most states allow you to sue the responsible person for wrongful death if you’re a close relative of the deceased, such as his or her spouse, parent, or child. Other states require the person appointed as the personal representative of your loved one’s estate to sue on behalf of you and the other next of kin. An experienced local wrongful death lawyer, like one from Saavedra Law Firm, PLC, can advise you of your state’s laws.
Wrongful Death Causes
A wrongful death can result from a variety of situations, including the following:
- Motor vehicle accident
- Premises liability accident
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Defective product accident
Usually, you can recover two categories of damages in a wrongful death suit. The first pays for such things as the following:
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering from the time of the accident until the time of his or her death.
- His or her medical expenses.
- His or her lost wages from the time of the accident until the time of his or her death.
- His or her funeral and burial expenses.
The second category of damages pays for your own losses occasioned by your loved one’s wrongful death. Examples include the following:
- Your loss of the decedent’s support from the time of his or her untimely death until the time he or she would have retired had he or she lived to retirement age.
- Your loss of the decedent’s love, affection, companionship, guidance, etc.
Keep in mind that some states require you to bring two separate actions, one for wrongful death and the other called a survivors’ action, in order to recover both types of damages. Again, your wrongful death lawyer can advise you.
In rare cases, you may also be able to get punitive damages. Juries only award this type of damages, however, when the defendant’s actions in causing the wrongful death were particularly outrageous, reckless, or otherwise egregious. Their purpose is to financially punish the defendant.
Types of Payouts
In all likelihood, you will get to choose whether to take the settlement or jury award as a lump sum or as a structured settlement. As its name implies, a lump sum payment means that you receive the entire payout at once. The advantages are that you can quickly pay all of your loved one’s outstanding bills and expenses.
A structured settlement, on the other hand, means that you will receive an agreed-upon amount each month from the defendant’s insurance company. The advantage here is that you receive continuing financial support over a relatively long period of time.