The Loss of a Family Member
For most people, the loss of a family member is one of the hardest things they must face. If that loss is due to another’s negligence or intentional act, it is all the more overwhelming. Recovery of wrongful death damages can alleviate the financial stress many families confront.
Family members want to know why and how their loved one died. Many feel angry and confused. In cases where the decedent was killed in an accident or intentional act, the family wants justice for their loved one.
A wrongful death lawyer can help set the record right. They can investigate the cause of the decedent’s demise and determine who or what was responsible for it. At the Olinde Law Firm, it does not matter if it was a car accident or a large company’s disregard for safety in a defective drug or medical device, we are here to help you during this difficult time.
Wrongful Death Damages
According to the life expectancy of the decedent, wrongful death lawsuits seek to compensate survivors for the support the deceased would have provided if he or she was alive. Such damages are paid as compensation to the family based on the loss of a deceased family member. That is to say, the damages are meant to compensate the surviving family members for their financial and emotional loss due to their loved one’s demise.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, economic and non-economic damages may be awarded. Each category is different. An economist can easily calculate economic damages using elements such as the wages the deceased earned before their death and the salary they were expected to earn in the future.
Sometimes, pain and suffering can become part of a lawsuit against the responsible party. This usually happens when a survival action is filed on behalf of the decedent. A survival action differs from a wrongful death lawsuit in that it is basically a personal injury lawsuit filed for the decedent that outlived them. It awards monetary funds to the decedent’s estate. A survival action allows for both punitive and compensatory damages as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
Life Expectancy in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: How Is It Calculated?
When calculating financial losses due to the death of an individual, life expectancy is extremely important. When a person passes away, their survivors are entitled to the financial support they would have received if the deceased had lived and provided for them. Included in this are the wages, retirement benefits, savings, insurance and bonuses that the decedent would have earned.
The following elements are included in the calculation of life expectancy:
- Age of the decedent
- Average life expectancy is used since this provides the expected longevity
- Health, since a healthy person would be expected to live longer
- Lifestyle is important since it reflects on the decedent’s longevity
- Habits such as smoking or drinking can affect the individual’s overall health
- Occupation is important since some are more dangerous
Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death
The following are economic damages included in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Cost of funerals and burials
- Value of household services performed by the deceased
- Support the deceased would have provided throughout their lives
- Benefits the decedent would have provided to their family as a gift or a bequest
- Inheritance family members might receive from the decedent
A wrongful death suit can include non-economic damages as well. These damages are not as easy to calculate and vary from family to family. Even so, the family has suffered a loss and is entitled to compensation. Non-economic damages include:
- The protection the deceased would have provided to their family can be compensated.
- The affection the decedent showed his or her family is recoverable.
- A moral support system for the family if the decedent was still alive is lost and needs to be recovered.
- The guidance the decedent provided to family members is recoverable.
- The love and companionship the decedent would have provided to their spouse are recoverable.
Turn to the Olinde Law Firm
If a family member died due to another’s negligence or an intentional act, turn to the Olinde Law Firm to file a wrongful death claim. Call us at (800) 587-1889, or contact us online to bring justice to your loved one. We know that no amount of money can make up for your loss. However, you were robbed of more than your family member’s presence. The responsible party is trying to take the financial support that your loved one worked so hard to provide. We won’t let them take any more.