Types of damages available in wrongful death cases

After the unexpected and tragic death of a loved one people likely feel overwhelmed. The sudden loss of a loved one is terrible enough, but there are so many things that need attention right now. After funeral arrangements have been made and completed it is time to deal with the possibility that someone may be responsible, or partially responsible, for the death of a loved one.

If interested in seeking damages, you may be interested in filing a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death suits aim to hold a party financially responsible in some way for the death of a person. California has a civil "wrongful death statute," that establishes the procedures for bringing wrongful death actions. Actions for personal injury, conscious pain and suffering or expenses that occurred in the proximate time of the loved one's death are also considered.

In wrongful death suits, pecuniary damages are often sought. Pecuniary damages are often interpreted by the courts to be interpreted to be lost prospect of inheritance, funeral expenses, the loss of support, services and medical expenses. Most laws provide that the damages awarded for a wrongful death be equal to the pecuniary injuries that resulted to the deceased and their family. It is often complicated to calculate these damages due to the ambiguous nature of pecuniary damages and the specifics of each individual case.

Pecuniary or financial damages are most often sought in cases where family members suffered significant financial loss due to the loss of a loved one. Of course this is not the only way to measure the loss to a family member. There is also the pain and feeling of loss the loved one's must feel during this difficult time. Do not underestimate how important finances can become both now and in the future of a current family situation.

Source: Findlaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," Accessed April 27, 2015

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