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What damages can be collected in a wrongful death claim?

Suffering the loss of a loved one is a difficult time for anyone. However, losing a loved one because of the negligence of another party can make the coping process even more challenging. Surviving family members are not only suffering emotionally, but are also suffering financially due to losses and damages incurred by the fatal accident.

What damages can be collected in a wrongful death claim? Before loved ones can collect compensation for a wrongful death, they must prove the elements of the action. First, there must be a death of a human being. Next, it must be proven that death was caused by the negligence of another party. Surviving family members must also prove that they have suffered monetary injury as a result of the death of a loved one.

Whether it was a fatal medical malpractice incident, automobile crash, fatal workplace accident or death caused by the criminal behavior of another party, family members have a right to file a wrongful death claim. In these actions, surviving loved ones could seek a wide variety of damages. Family members could seek pecuniary losses. This is based on the age, character and condition of the decedent, the person's income earning capacity, health, life expectancy, intelligence and other relevant factors and circumstances.

Punitive damages are also available in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing. The purpose of this damage is to punish the wrongdoer or to deter others from similar behavior. Additionally, survival actions are also possible. These damages are available to address damages and losses suffered by the decedent prior to their death. This typically addresses pain and suffering and medical bills.

The loss of a loved one is never an easy event to go through. It can be difficult to cope with the situation. While no amount of money will bring back a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can help address losses and damages arising from the unfortunate event.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed April 16, 2017

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