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What Damages Can You Get for Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

In wrongful death lawsuits, you have three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Each vary from state to state, mainly in terms of what kind of compensation you can get and who you can get it from. The first step in any wrongful death case is to hire a lawyer, one experienced in wrongful death claims in your state. Since state laws can differ, you want a lawyer close to you.

How much can you get?
This is perhaps the big question you have, and a tough one to ask. Be clear here, because if you feel this person or entity needs to be punished and that your family needs to be protected, you deserve high compensation. Wrongful death claims vary in scope and size: just as no two deaths are exactly alike no two cases will be alike. Once you understand the full scope of how much the death of a loved one has hit you both economically and emotionally, and once you can see how at fault the person is, your lawyer can come up with a number.

What are economic damages wrongful death lawsuits?

Say for example your wife has surgery in a hospital and mistakes are made. She passes away, and the hospital and its staff are clearly responsible. You and your wife both worked, you have several kids, and you have a mortgage. It's more than understandable for economic damages to come to protect you and your family. This would be the expected earnings your spouse would have, any loss of benefits, any medical and funeral expenses, and much more. In other words, how much the death has cost you for the future is how economic damages are calculated.

What are non-economic damages?
You may think non-economic damages would be less. You cannot put a price on grief for a loved one who was robbed of life. That's why non-economic damages, such as damages you suffer mentally and emotionally, can be even higher than the economic damages. It's hard to put a price on it, and state laws are designed to help those who suffer the loss of loved one through wrongful death.

What are punitive damages?
Finally, punitive damages are your clear right to punish those responsible. Using our previous example of the hospital mistake, if the mistake would not have been made by a competent doctor or nurse, you can punish the hospital further. Punitive charges the defendant with making a clear mistake; it happens quite often in DUI (driving under the influence) deaths.

Who can help?
You really can't know how large the damages will be until you consult with your lawyer. It's quite likely you will be getting offers for settlements before even going to trial, as is common in personal injury law. In any case, an experienced wrongful death lawyer is your right hand in punishing those responsible for a loved one's death and the pain and suffering it caused.