When loved ones die unexpectedly, it can cause enormous financial hardship-especially if the deceased was the family’s main breadwinner. It is imperative that you understand the various categories of compensation available in wrongful death lawsuits if you plan to seek compensation.
Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC, know how difficult it can be for surviving family members in the wake of an unexpected accident, and a personal-injury lawyer in New York is available at 212.227.2780 to offer legal guidance in your wrongful death case. Read on for three frequently asked questions regarding wrongful death claims:
- What exactly is a wrongful death suit?
When the survivors of a deceased person bring a civil action against the person or entity responsible for the deceased’s death, it is a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the Legal Information Institute, family members or personal representatives of the estate may file the suit, and if they win, they can claim compensation for financial and emotional hardship.
- What damages are available in wrongful death cases?
There are two broad categories of damages in cases of wrongful death, and they fall into two distinct time periods. You can claim for damages incurred immediately after the accident but before the victim died, or you can claim compensation for damages that occurred after your loved one passed away. Before Death You can recover damages that your loved one suffered before he or she succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident. This could be for an hour or several months of emotional, physical or mental anguish. In this category, damages typically include the mental and physical pain and suffering of the deceased, as well as emotional distress, medical expenses, the deceased’s loss of income and funeral expenses. After Death After your loved one passes away, you can claim damages for the losses his or her death causes you. This category typically compensates the surviving family members for financial losses incurred because of the death. You can file for loss of earning capacity, which covers the amount of money the deceased should have earned until “normal-age" retirement, as well as any other income that his or her premature death cancelled. In New York, loss of consortium is available in some cases. This category enables spouses and immediate family members to claim compensation for lost companionship and love, which is particularly significant when children lose the much-needed guidance of a parent.
- Who receives damages in wrongful death cases?
When identifying the types of damages to award in a wrongful death claim, the court examines the various aspects surrounding the relationship between the different family members and the deceased. In typical wrongful death cases, the following people are eligible for damages:
- Surviving spouses.
- Minor children.
- Parents, if the deceased was a minor.
The circumstances surrounding the deceased’s death may make you eligible for punitive damages, as well. Punitive damages occur when the deceased died as a direct result of particularly egregious or reckless behavior of the defendant. Courts award punitive damages to punish the defendant and discourage similar actions from others. If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one, you may have a claim for wrongful death if someone else’s negligence resulted in the death. Call Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC today at 212.227.2780 to discuss your case with a compassionate, professional, award-winning personal injury attorney in New York.