Losing a loved one is never easy, but when that death occurs in a tragic way, or is due to the negligence of someone else, it can take an even harder toll. In some cases, surviving family members are eligible to file a lawsuit for what is known as “wrongful death.” Depending on the circumstances of the death, the party responsible, the deceased person’s financial obligations and dependents, and other factors, certain categories of compensation (aka “damages”) may be awarded.
A wrongful death suit is a civil action on behalf of the deceased person’s family or their estate, and is designed to help the surviving members cope with their unexpected loss, and the consequences of that loss. First, the death must be determined to be due to the intentional actions or negligence of another party. Examples of these circumstances might be: homicide, motor vehicle accidents, and any other neglectful behaviors that led to someone’s death, such as toxic contamination, building collapse, or improper safety warnings.
When determining damages to award to a family, there are two categories that are considered: covering costs and suffering between the time of the incident and the actual time of death, and losses and suffering after the time of death. In the former category, medical costs often come into play; a person may be gravely injured in a car accident, but may incur several days or weeks worth of hospital or surgical costs before passing away. The latter category takes into consideration the quality of life of the surviving kin, and can account for things like lost wages, lost parenting assistance, and, in some states, loss of consortium (love and companionship).
In a broad sense, damages in a wrongful death suit may include any or all of the following:
o Medical costs, lost wages, insurance coverage, inheritance, etc…
o Mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional companionship, loss of care or guidance
o Designed to punish the party responsible for the circumstances that led to the wrongful death
In a wrongful death case, several parties may be entitled to damages. Most often, spouses are awarded compensation, but children and parents of the deceased may also be eligible. Since each case is different, it’s best to talk to a qualified Orlando wrongful death attorney, to find out what your unique case may be worth.
Reach out to Nater Law today and request your free consultation.