Wrongful death is a legal action pursued by the family or dependents of a person who dies due to wrongdoing or act of negligence of another person (the dependents of the deceased are legally addressed as “real parties in interest”). The main purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek compensation for all the present and future losses that the dependents of the deceased are and will be subjected to. Compensation should cover funeral expenses, lost companionship and lost wages, among others.
Losses or damages suffered by the dependents are generally classified under these categories: economic, non-economic and punitive. Though states may differ in some items contained in each category, their basic coverage include:
- Economic damages. These relate to the financial contributions the deceased would still have been able to provide had he/she not died. These include goods and services the deceased would have earned; wages and other earnings; possible inheritance; financial benefits, such as pension plan; medical coverage for victim’s family members; and, cost of medical treatment and funeral service.
- Non-economic damages. These refer to the non-material losses of the surviving family, such as: loss of love and companionship; loss of consortium with the deceased spouse; loss of the deceased victim’s care, guidance, nurturing and protection; and, the dependents’ suffering, pain and mental anguish.
- Punitive damages. These usually include compensatory damages. In states where this is not made available in a wrongful death lawsuit, treble damages, or triple damages, is awarded instead. Treble damages or triple damages multiply the amount of actual damages to three. The court may award this type of damage based on legally acceptable reasons.
- Punitive damages are basically served on the liable individual to make him/her realize his/her erroneous act and to prevent him/her from committing the same error in the future.
Legal professionals, like the Chicago personal injury attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, understand that a “few events will have the same power to affect the circumstances of your life as the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one. Though the idea of filing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming right now, it will be in the best interests of your family to begin working through the legal process as soon after the accident as you are able.”
The lawsuit can be a painful process; however, dealing with it immediately to hold the responsible party accountable and so find closure will be more beneficial for everyoneRead More