When someone dies due to the fault of another, families will often pursue lawsuits, claiming wrongful death and survival damages. These lawsuits, often referred to in layman’s terms as wrongful death lawsuits, allege that the death could have been avoided and was caused by reckless, negligent or unlawful actions on the part of an individual or business. A devastating loss of this type not only brings with it grief and suffering over the death itself, but the additional pain and burden of knowing that the death should not have occurred.
Oftentimes in cases such as these, family members seek the professional counsel of a wrongful death attorney to help them evaluate the details of the case and determine potential areas where expenses can be recovered. A wrongful death brings a laundry list of costs that put additional stress and pressure on an already grieving family. Recouping these expenses in a wrongful death and survival lawsuit can ease the financial burden and allow the family to focus on both mourning and rebuilding, rather than anxiety-provoking worries over how to pay for essentials.
Damages that can be recovered
Some of the most immediate costs a family faces following a wrongful death include medical bills and burial expenses for the deceased family member. These expenses can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition, expenses such as lost wages that the deceased person would have earned can also be recovered.
There are two types of damages that a judge can award in this type of lawsuit: punitive damages and compensatory damages. Punitive damages are damages that go above and beyond the regular compensation award and are designed specifically as a punishment for a defendant who acted with reckless regard to the rights of others. Compensatory damages are awarded to help compensate for the pain and suffering the loss has caused a family.
Types of negligence in car accidents
Wrongful death lawsuits are common when a motor vehicle accident claims the life of someone on the roadway, when the negligence of another driver was the root cause of the fatality. Typical examples of negligent drivers in this type of wrongful death suit include distracted or drunk drivers. In other cases, accidents are due to the negligence of a construction company or the city for hazardous road conditions. Another example is when a defective vehicle component causes the accident, resulting in a products liability theory of liability.
Mourning the death of a loved one is a difficult process, and nothing can ever truly compensate for the loss. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can help a family from a logistical standpoint to cover essential expenses, and it can also help bring a sense of justice from a very unjust situation. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident or other accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you understand your rights under the law.
This blog entry was posted on behalf of Hof & Reid LLC, and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.