Wrongful Death Damages

November 2, 2020

What is a “Wrongful Death” Claim?

Wrongful Death” is a death caused by another person’s negligent or wrongful act. Many types of these acts can give rise to a wrongful death claim, including medical malpractice, automobile accidents, defective products, premises liability, pedestrian accidents, and various types of torts.

Every state has its own wrongful death statute, each with its own criteria and procedure for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. Nonetheless, there may be certain agencies that have governmental immunity from prosecution for wrongful death lawsuits.

If a loved one has passed due to someone else’s negligence or intentional tort, contact a Stroudsburg wrongful death lawyer for help.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

Commonly, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by a representative on behalf of the eligible survivors who suffered harm from their loved one’s death, commonly referred to as “real parties in interest,” whose eligibility varies from state to state. In all states, spouses, children, and the parents of unmarried children may act as real parties in interest and bring claims against the responsible parties. 

Typically, the representative of the real parties in interest who is bringing the suit must prove:

  • A death caused by someone else’s negligence or intentionally wrongful actions (i.e., you have to start out by proving the underlying tort), 
  • The survival of family members who suffered harm because of the death and who are eligible to recover for damages, and 
  • The appointment of a personal representative of the decedent’s estate when appropriate.

What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

A representative who brings a wrongful death claim may recover both economic and non-economic damages to be distributed to those family members eligible to recover. Economic damages may include:

  • Medical and funeral expenses,
  • Lost household or other services,
  • Out-of-pocket expenses,
  • Loss of support and income, and lost prospect of inheritance, 
  • Loss of the victim’s expected earnings,
  • Loss of benefits, such as pension plans or medical coverage,
  • Interest starting from the date of the death,
  • Loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death, and
  • The value of the goods and services that a victim would have provided.

Noneconomic damages may also be recovered, including: 

  • Potentially punitive damages when the decedent died due to egregious conduct and/or gross negligence by the defendant,
  • Loss of the care, protection, guidance, advice, training, and nurturing from the deceased,
  • Loss of love, society, and companionship from the deceased,
  • Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse,
  • The loss of parental guidance, and
  • Pain and suffering.

Survival Claims

A decedent’s survivors may also maintain a “survival action” in cases where a decedent does not die immediately from an accident and brings a personal injury lawsuit. This type of claim allows the decedent’s estate to recover for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering before dying. The jury may look into the degree to which the decedent was conscious, the severity of his or her pain, and his or her awareness of impending death.

Contact a Stroudsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis for Help During This Difficult Time

If a loved one has passed, a Stroudsburg wrongful death lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis understands what a difficult time this is. We’ll help you with compassion, empathy, and efficiency.

Contact us for further information and to schedule your free consultation.