September 5, 2014
What are the Survivors Entitled to in a Wrongful Death Case?
When an individual is involved in an accident and suffers harm due to negligence or wrongdoing, the victim may pursue a claim to receive compensation. Sometimes, however, the victim does not survive the accident. When this occurs, close family members like the spouse of the victim may pursue a claim to recover damages. The survivors, under these circumstances, would sue for wrongful death.
In a wrongful death case, the types of compensation the survivors are entitled to will be based on the extent of financial loss. Survivors also experience emotional damage due to the death of a loved one who they cared about. As a result, to make sure these survivors are fully compensated, wrongful death damages can also include monetary payments for non-economic loss. Determining the value of a wrongful death case can be complicated and a San Diego, CA injury attorney should be consulted for help. Injury Trial Lawyers, APC can assist throughout the process of making your wrongful death claim. Call today to learn more.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
According to the California Civil Jury Instructions, juries who are calculating how much compensation to award to a plaintiff in a wrongful death case are told to consider economic losses caused by the death including:
- Any financial support that the deceased would have contributed to his family over the course of the rest of his life, had he not suffered an untimely death.
- The value of any benefits or gifts that the plaintiff would have received from the deceased if the deceased had not been killed.
- The cost of funeral and burial expenses for the deceased.
- The reasonable value of the household services the deceased would have provided if the death had not occurred. For example, a mother or a father who was killed might have been expected to provide child care services, cooking, home repair services, lawn services, and other related types of services. Someone may now need to be paid to do these activities to keep the home running. The value of this should be factored in.
In determining the amount of non-economic losses to award to plaintiffs in a wrongful death case, jurors are told to consider:
- The loss of the love, comfort, care, companionship, affection, and moral support the deceased would have provided if the death had not occurred.
- The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations, if the deceased was the plaintiff’s spouse or significant other.
- The loss of any guidance or training that the deceased would have provided.
It can be very difficult to calculate the value of someone’s life. Often, a plaintiff will put forward character witnesses who will testify about the contribution that the deceased made to his family’s life. A plaintiff may also have experts testify to help a jury determine what the deceased’s life expectancy and earning capacity would have been if the untimely death had not happened.
An experienced San Diego wrongful death lawyer can help surviving family members to put together the strongest case possible under the circumstances to have the best chance of recovering full compensation in a wrongful death case. Call today to schedule a free consultation with Injury Trial Lawyers to learn more.
Injury Trial Lawyers, APC
1230 Columbia Street #560
San Diego, CA 92101