In the unfortunate event of losing a loved one due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, pursuing a wrongful death case can help provide some sense of justice and financial support. Wrongful death cases aim to compensate surviving family members for their loss, but what types of damages can you actually receive from such cases? In this article, we’ll delve into the various categories of damages that may be available in a wrongful death case.
According to the Dayton wrongful death attorneys at The Brannon Law Firm, economic damages are the financial losses suffered by the surviving family members due to the untimely death of a loved one. In the context of wrongful death cases, economic damages include the following:
- Medical Expenses: If your loved one received medical treatment prior to passing away, you may be entitled to compensation for the medical expenses incurred. This includes hospital bills, medication costs, and any related medical services.
- Funeral and Burial Costs: Wrongful death cases often cover the expenses associated with funeral arrangements, burial or cremation, and memorial services. These costs can add up quickly and become a financial burden, so seeking compensation for these expenses is essential.
- Loss of Financial Support: The income that the deceased person would have provided to the family members had they survived can be calculated and claimed as a part of economic damages. This takes into account their earnings, benefits, and potential future income.
Noneconomic damages involve intangible losses in wrongful death cases, such as emotional pain, loss of companionship, and the potential for punitive damages in cases of extreme negligence or malice. The following are classified as noneconomic damages:
- Pain and Suffering: Although it’s challenging to quantify emotional pain, surviving family members may be eligible for compensation for the pain and suffering they endure as a result of their loved one’s wrongful death. This encompasses emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
- Loss of Consortium: This refers to the loss of the emotional support, companionship, and intimacy that the deceased would have provided to their spouse or partner. Loss of consortium damages aim to compensate for the negative impact on the surviving spouse’s quality of life.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or malicious, the court might award punitive damages. These damages serve as a form of punishment for the defendant and a deterrent against similar behavior in the future.
When determining the amount of compensation in a wrongful death case, individual states consider several factors, including the deceased person’s age, earning potential, and their role in the family. Economic damages are relatively straightforward to calculate since they involve quantifiable financial losses. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, can be more complex and may require the expertise of legal and financial professionals.
Statute of Limitations
It’s important to note that there is a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, within which a wrongful death claim must be filed. This time frame varies by jurisdiction, so it’s crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline. For example, Ohio’s statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years. This means an individual must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the death to be eligible to receive compensation.
Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is an emotionally challenging experience. Pursuing a wrongful death case not only helps hold the responsible party accountable but also provides financial support during a difficult time. The types of damages available in such cases range from economic compensation for financial losses to non-economic compensation for emotional distress and loss of companionship. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the complexities of a wrongful death case, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.