When a person passes away, it is often very difficult for the family members they leave behind. When their death is caused by the negligence, recklessness or intentional actions of another person, the family may be entitled to pursue a claim for wrongful death.
Wrongful death claim
There are several requirements that must be met to bring a wrongful death claim. It can be filed by the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children or parents.
The person pursuing the claim must show that the negligent or wrongful act caused the deceased person’s death and that they suffered damages because of the death.
Damages can include economic impact, such as loss of financial support, medical expenses and funeral expenses, as well as noneconomic impact like loss of companionship and pain and suffering.
It’s important to file the claim within the statute of limitations or the claim may be barred.
The amount of damages the family receives is dependent on the individual situation; however, there are items the court will generally consider.
One of the most common factors in calculating damages is based on lost income. This is based on the person’s earnings at the time of their death and potential wage increases.
The court may also review the value of nonfinancial support the deceased person provided to the family, such as housekeeping and childcare. In some cases, where the person who caused the death acted intentionally, the family may receive punitive damages, which are meant to punish and deter others from acting the same way.