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What Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

It is always a tragedy when a loved one in a family passes away, but the pain can feel all the more unbearable if their death was the result of someone else’s negligence. This is perhaps the ultimate personal injury because it not only ended someone’s life, but caused immense grief and heartache for everyone who knew and loved them.

If someone you loved passed away because of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you probably want to hold them accountable. No one can fault you for it, either – in addition to losing a member of your family, you probably also have to deal with the financial impact of your loss.

While no legal action can return what was taken from you, it can ease the collateral damage so that your family isn’t harmed in unnecessary ways by the loss of a loved one.

Economic Damages

When a loved one has died because of another party’s recklessness or negligence, there may be a measurable economic toll on their surviving loved ones. Economic damages are typically things that can be accurately valued as a result of the death.

They may include the following:

  • Hospital bills from injuries that eventually led to death
  • Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses
  • Financial support the deceased would have provided to his or her family (future lost earnings)
  • Household services the deceased would have provided to his or her family (child care, cleaning, cooking, etc.)

Often, the life expectancy of the victim immediately prior to their passing is taken into account when assessing these damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Those who survive someone who passed away because of a wrongful death incident can also sue for non-economic damages. These are things that don’t really have a quantifiable price tag, but their intrinsic value is so great that some monetary value must be assigned.

Non-economic damages can include the following:

  • Loss of the victim’s companionship, love, affection, emotional support, assistance, care, and comfort
  • Loss of the victim’s training and guidance (when the victim was a parent or spouse)
  • Loss of consortium or intimate relations with the victim

Because there’s no dollar value on these things, juries in wrongful death cases are left to judge an amount that seems reasonable to provide to a victim’s loved ones.

What Can’t Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

It’s worth noting that the following cannot be accounted for in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The victim’s pain and suffering
  • The surviving family members’ grief, sorry, and anguish
  • The family’s apparent wealth or lack thereof

We Can Help You with Your Claim

If someone is at fault for a loved one’s death, our attorneys at Smolich and Smolich can help you and your relatives seek the financial compensation you need. We can hold responsible parties accountable and pursue a recovery of damages after someone was unfairly taken away from their families.

For more information, schedule a free initial consultation with us by contacting Smolich and Smolich online or by calling (916) 571-0400">(916) 571-0400.