If your parent, spouse or child died in an accident that resulted from negligence or recklessness, you typically have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Although no amount of money can replace your loved one, courts and states try to compensate you for your loss. You may receive financial, noneconomic and punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Economic damages cover the financial outlay a family makes due to the accident. For example, you should receive enough to cover all your loved one’s hospital bills as well as funeral and burial expenses.
Courts also typically include lost wages or other financial support. These calculations are challenging and depend on your loved one’s age, earning capacity, health before the incident, support the children need and other case details. You may also receive compensation for any inheritance you lost due to the accident.
You may receive compensation for pain and suffering for you and your loved one who passed away. Mental, physical and emotional trauma should receive consideration. Loss of consortium, such as loss of companionship, affection, nurturing and love, may also receive compensation. Children who will now lack instruction and guidance may also receive compensation.
Although these are optional, punitive damages punish the negligent or reckless party rather than provide for you. Although you may receive the money, it is not for a specific need you have. It is extra money the courts think the defendant should pay to encourage better future behavior.
Wrongful death lawsuits have limits, particularly statutes of limitation, which can vary from one to two years, so learn these limits before filing your lawsuit.