Recoverable Damages for Wrongful Death
Recovering damages after a wrongful death can be an important step in the grieving process for the deceased's surviving relatives. While no amount of money could ever make up for their loss, it can help provide some financial security and peace of mind during a difficult time.
In many cases, survivors may be able to pursue compensation through wrongful death lawsuits. This can help provide closure and a sense of justice, while allowing them to focus on healing after their loss.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death refers to a civil cause of action seeking damages from a party allegedly responsible for someone’s death. “Responsibility” for someone’s death typically entails knowingly or negligently causing their death, and defendants in wrongful death lawsuits may be specific individuals or entities such as companies and other private or public organizations.
Wrongful death lawsuits can result from accidents that resulted in someone’s death, and they may also arise when the defendant is criminally accused of a homicide crime.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by certain people with a personal relationship to the deceased.
Such people include:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased;
- The surviving children of the deceased;
- If there are no surviving children, then other family members such as parents, siblings, and other heirs may be able to bring a lawsuit;
- An executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased
In addition to these family members, someone else may file a wrongful death suit if they can provide evidence that they were financially dependent on the deceased or had some other close relationship with them.
Which Damages Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Recover?
A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to compensate for economic and noneconomic losses suffered by the dependents and/or relatives of the deceased incurred as a result of the death.
Economic Damages for Wrongful Death
Economic damages compensate the plaintiffs for financial losses incurred because of their loved one’s death. In California, these damages can take into account the financial support the deceased provided, the cost of their medical care between the accident and their death, funeral and burial expenses, and the value of the household services they would have provided during their expected lifespan.
Other economic damages may apply to your claim, so it’s best to consult with an attorney to learn more.
Non-Economic Damages for Wrongful Death
In a wrongful death lawsuit, non-economic damages may be awarded to plaintiffs as well. These damages take into account the unquantifiable loss that loved ones of the deceased experienced as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful acts.
Typically, non-economic damages are defined as the loss of someone’s love, society and companionship, affection, moral support, training, and guidance. As there is no limit to non-economic damages for wrongful death in California, juries may decide on any amount they deem reasonable.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
At the Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser, we understand how difficult it can be to cope with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one due to wrongful death. Our experienced team has helped families for more than 20 years fight for justice in wrongful death claims. We are committed to providing compassionate legal representation and guidance throughout every stage of the process.
Learn more about how we can help during an initial consultation. Contact us online to schedule yours.