The sudden loss of a loved one in an accident is not something that any family will completely overcome. If that individual who died was also a primary contributor to family income, then the economic effects of the loss may be on par with the emotional devastation experienced by the affected family.
This is where a wrongful death action can be very helpful to mourning family members. If successfully navigated, a wrongful death suit could bring much-needed financial compensation to surviving family members after a fatal accident.
The damages family members can pursue in a wrongful death claim
Damages in a wrongful death claim will differ depending on a variety of factors -- namely, the decedent's level of income, likely future income, age and stage in life, health condition at the time of death, contribution to the family, and other matters.
Depending on the context of the death and the unique characteristics of the decedent, here are some categories of wrongful death damages that family members might want to pursue:
Lost family income: The loss of a loved one could affect the level of income enjoyed by the family and have devastating effects on the family's ability to make financial ends meet now and into the future.
For this reason, spouses and children of a deceased person may be able to pursue lost current and future income. Courts will seek to estimate these damages based on the current career and income of the deceased in addition to the likely career and income trajectory.
Lost household and family services: When the decedent was a contributor to the family, the family may have lost the benefit of various services -- the value of which can be estimated. Child care, cleaning, transportation, home maintenance, food preparation, laundry and other services all have a real-world value that -- when calculated into the future -- could represent a considerable sum.
In this respect, even if the deceased family member did not have a formal career, he or she was likely contributing to the family in a variety of valuable ways.
Lost companionship and affection: Family members may also be able to assert claims for intangible damages such as lost companionship, lost spousal benefits, lost affection, lost relationship and more.
Did your loved one die in an accident?
There are many other categories of wrongful death damages that might apply to your unique case. If your loved one died in an accident because of the fault or negligence of another party, learn more about your legal rights and options now.