A wrongful death case is extremely difficult for the family who is left behind. Wrongful death laws acknowledge this fact by allowing for compensation in several different categories. While there is no way to bring back the person who passed away, the monetary compensation can at least do something to make up for any financial losses caused by the death of the loved one. Most U.S. states allow for six different types of damage in wrongful death lawsuits. Read on to learn more about each of these kinds of compensation.
Medical Cost Compensation
Medical costs can be significant in a wrongful death case. To qualify for this category of compensation, the medical costs must have been incurred during treatment for the condition that resulted in death. This compensation can include many sub-categories, such as:
- Hospital stays
- Doctor visits
- Prescription medication costs
- Physical therapy costs
- Chiropractic costs
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering compensation is meant to compensate for the physical and emotional problems that the deceased suffered before they passed away. This category is sometimes used as a catch-all category for damages that don't fit into the medical cost or any other category. Pain and suffering damages may include compensation for things such as:
- Emotional trauma prior to death
- Physical pain prior to death
- Reduced quality of life prior to death
- Loss of ability to spend time with family
Burial and Funeral Costs
Any and all costs generated by the burial and funeral of the victim are included in this category. Nearly any costs that are specifically generated by the burial, cremation, funeral services, and any other memorial are usually acceptable inclusions in this category.
Loss of Ability to Work
The deceased person's income is permanently lost when they pass away, and this often has a significant negative impact on the family. This category of compensation is designed to pay for any future income until the date that the deceased would have retired. The family may also receive monetary compensation for other losses in this category too. For example, if the deceased was a regular caregiver for their nieces and nephews, the family may be compensated in an amount sufficient to hire other caregivers.
The punitive damage category includes damages that the deceased would have received if they had not passed away. This category may not be included in every wrongful death award, as it is most often awarded only when the wrongful death happened because of deliberate or malicious behavior. Punitive damages are designed to work as a punishment and deterrent for those who caused the death.
Nominal damages can be awarded by the court in situations where the wrongdoing is clear, but there was not any financial loss. Nominal damages are typically very minimal ($1 or $2 on average.) This type of damages is not about the money, but rather about clearly demonstrating that the responsible party caused the death.
If your loved one is now gone because of another person's wrongful actions, it's time for your family to take action. Call a wrongful death attorney to discuss compensation today.
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