Wrongful Death

What is Wrongful Death?

If you lost a loved one as a result of accidental or unnatural fatal injuries, it may be classified as wrongful death. While financial compensation can only do so much, this type of legal claim does allow certain surviving family members to recover damages from the persons responsible for the emotional and financial losses suffered.

Common causes of wrongful death:

  • Pedestrian hit by a car

  • Car, truck or motorcycle crash

  • Dangerous drugs

  • Defective or unsafe products

  • Nursing home abuse or neglect

Who Can Recover Damages for Wrongful Death?

An individual must be within one of the following categories to recover damages for wrongful death:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner, each state has its own criteria

  • Children, including adopted children

  • Dependent persons, parents can recovery for their child’s death if they were dependent or if there are no other survivors

  • Stepchildren

  • Minors residing in the same household, other than children who were dependent on the decedent

  • Others, such as dependent spouses not legally married to the decedent

What Losses Can be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?

  • Loss of love, society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, and consortium: determining the amount of these damages depends on several things, including: the closeness of the relationship involved, the age and health of the survivor, and the life expectancy of the decedent.

  • Loss of services: where a decedent performed domestic services for the survivor, such as babysitting, the survivor may recover the value of these lost services in a wrongful death action.

  • Loss of financial contributions: where a survivor received expected financial contributions from the decedent, they can be recovered from the negligent party. Examples of items in this category include income, benefits, and support payments that would normally have been used to support the surviving person.

  • Loss of training and advice: where the survivor would have received training and advice from the decedent, the survivor can recover the value of the loss. A common example: the advice, training and moral support that children receive from their parents.

  • Funeral and burial expenses: reasonable funeral and burial expenses incurred by a survivor may be recovered in a lawsuit for wrongful death. These expenses must be considered reasonable before they are recoverable.

Factors that Contribute to the Financial Recovery in a Wrongful Death Action:

  • Life expectancy: Damages in a case are recoverable for the time the survivor and decedent would have been alive together. Damages are limited to the life expectancy of one of the parties, whichever is shorter.

  • Earning capacity of decedent: One of the considerations in determining the amount of wrongful death damages is the amount of support and financial contributions that were lost from a decedent to the survivor. Determining exactly how much will be recoverable can be based on earning capacity.

  • Relationship between the decedent and survivor: The closer the relationship, the more the damage is presumed to be.

Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

We know that when you’re grieving, taking legal action may be the last thing on your mind. Our considerate legal staff has helped many families like yours during the aftermath of a wrongful death claim, and we want you to feel comfortable and confident—not worried or stressed by legal paperwork and deadlines.

You can count on our team of wrongful death lawyers to care for your family in this time of need.