Wrongful death is the term used when someone causes the death of another person. The death may be caused by the actions of someone or by their failure to act. Since the person killed (decedent) cannot file suit or collect damages, it is the family or representatives of the estate that can opt to file a civil lawsuit. The intent is to compensate family members who have suffered monetarily and emotionally from the death. Damages can be assessed for lost wages and benefits, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the trauma.
A defendant can only be held responsible for a wrongful death if it can be proved that the defendant’s conduct was the cause of the death. It must be proved that the death would not have occurred without the defendant’s act.
If it can be shown that the decedent was partially responsible for his death, then he may be found to have comparative or contributory negligence and damages may be awarded based on the percentage of negligence imputed to the decedent. Also, if the decedent failed to seek appropriate medical care and that failure led to his death, there may be no grounds for a wrongful death claim or a reduction to an award.
In a case of wrongful death, damages are assessed to compensate family members for their loss. There are many ways in which damages can be calculated. Since damages can be awarded in a number of areas, it is important to examine each one carefully.
The most obvious loss in a case of wrongful death is the actual expense occasioned by medical and death expenses. These are usually easy to determine.
Less obvious but equally important is the loss of future earnings and benefits, as well as the loss of companionship. These damages are more difficult to calculate and include anticipating the lifespan and earnings of the decedent, as well as the relationship to remaining family members.
Loss of companionship is very difficult to calculate since it is totally subjective. It is a measure of the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the survivors.
A final area of damages is punitive damages. This is an amount awarded to punish the person who caused the death, rather than to compensate for a specific loss. It can typically only be awarded when the action of the defendant was intentional or grossly negligent.
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Attorney, Tim Mahoney at 815-656.4600, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
$8,000,000 personal injury settlement reached by Attorney Tim Mahoney against Schneider Trucking.
$4,000,000 wrongful death lawsuit filed against the Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department by Attorney Tim Mahoney and Coplan & Crane as co-counsel.
$1,100,000 personal injury settlement reached by Attorney Tim Mahoney on behalf of the estate of a grandmother in a fatal motor vehicle accident.