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Home » All You Need to Know About Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

All You Need to Know About Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When a loved one succumbs to death due to the careless actions of someone else, filing a wrongful death case may be the last thing that grieving family members would want to do. No compensation can indeed cover the devastating loss, however, damages can help lessen the financial burden on family members.

What are Damages:

Damages available in wrongful death lawsuits vary from State to State. No value can indeed be placed on a person’s life. However, a case dealing with the sole earning adult of a family is worth more because an entire family gets affected if the breadwinner’s life is lost.

Wrongful death damages can be divided into three categories: Economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.


These damages cover financial contributions that the deceased would have made for the surviving family members. Some of these include:

  • Medical and funeral expenses: In most cases, the deceased is given medical treatment before he or she dies. Also, funerals can be exorbitantly expensive. By offering economic damages, courts can always alleviate the financial stress after the death of a loved one.
  • Loss of income: In wrongful death cases, this is one of the most significant types of damages. If the deceased is the primary wage earner, sudden death may lead to financial crisis.
  • Loss of benefits: Apart from wages, the death of an adult may deprive dependents of social security, pension plans, healthcare, and other retirement benefits.

Non-economic damages:

Though it’s often difficult to calculate, non-economic damages have more value than economic damages. Some of the examples include:

  • Pain and suffering: In wrongful death cases, pain and suffering are not always awarded. This compensation is awarded to support surviving family members in emotional distress.
  • Loss of love, care, protection, and guidance: The death of a loved one may lead to loss of companionship, love, and consortium.

Punitive Damages

Punitive compensation is usually awarded to punish the accused for bad conduct. In some States, punitive damages are not available in wrongful death lawsuits. However, in other States, punitive damages may be recovered for medical malpractice cases such as nursing home abuse and death.

Calculating Compensation After Wrongful Death

Calculating damages after wrongful death is an overwhelming process. Most parties make use of expert witnesses to give their opinions on the actual amount of damages. These calculations include the income and services earned by the deceased outside the home and the benefits provided inside the home such as love, care, companionship, and medical care.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Every State sets particular time limits for filing wrongful death lawsuits. In most States, a lawsuit needs to be filed within two years from the date of the accident whereas the statute of limitations is one year in other States.

A Seasoned Attorney Understands the Legal Process

Lawyers who specialize in wrongful death cases have detailed knowledge of the legal process. In wrongful death lawsuits, all the deadlines must be adhered to to ensure that your case is active. Moreover, wrongful death cases are time-consuming. Only a trained attorney can help to navigate the process efficiently and obtain favorable compensation.

Our wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess offer a no-obligation review of your claim. The Personal Injury Attorney Lafayette LA does not charge any upfront fees, and payment is made only when we recover compensation. Call us for a free case analysis.  

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