In the aftermath of the accidental or wrongful death of a loved one, it can be difficult to even think about a lawsuit to recover damages. While nothing can bring your loved one back, you are entitled to hold those responsible accountable for your losses. But what can you recover and how are your losses calculated?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the damages (compensation for losses) are generally one of three types:
- Economic losses—those which represent tangible or out-of pocket losses
- Non-economic losses—those that are less tangible
- Punitive damages—losses designed to punish the wrongdoer or send a message to others
You are entitled to recover compensation for any actual expenses incurred as a result of the accident, or any benefits you would have received, had your loved one not died. This may include:
- Lost wages or income of a parent, spouse or guardian
- Lost benefits, such as medical insurance or pension/retirement benefits
- The diminished value of an inheritance because of the wrongful death
- Any medical expenses you or your loved one’s estate had to pay for medical care as a result of the accident, but before death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The value of any other services the deceased would have provided
These types of damages represent less tangible injuries, such as:
- Any emotional pain or suffering you experienced because of the death of your loved one
- Loss of companionship or consortium with a spouse
- Loss of the care, guidance, nurturing, protection or training of a parent or guardian
- Loss of the love or society of a family member
It’s extremely difficult to get punitive damages in a personal injury or wrongful death case, unless you can show that the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others or of the value of human life.
Contact My Office
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact the Law Offices of Gregg A. Wisotsky online or call me at 973-898-0161. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.