There are many types of possible damages in a wrongful death case. Although these damages cannot erase the pain that comes with losing a beloved family member, financial compensation could ease the financial strain of an untimely passing.
Wrongful death lawsuits are a complex form of legal action. Unfortunately, pursuing these cases without an attorney’s guidance could put your chance at securing justice at risk.
Economic Damages Cover Your Measurable Losses
Economic damages are measurable losses that can come with a wrongful death action. These damages are designed to return the surviving relatives to the financial position they were in before their loved one’s death. Given that this form of compensation measures a set amount of money, it is possible to demonstrate the exact amount the defendant owes.
Some of the most common types of economic damages include hospital bills, burial expenses, funeral expenses, and lost wages. Because these damages are designed to replace certain out-of-pocket costs, it could be possible to use documentary evidence to establish the appropriate amount of compensation. This evidence could include medical bills, funeral home invoices, or employment records.
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Non-Economic Damages Compensate Your Subjective Losses
Certain types of damages in a wrongful death case are impossible to measure objectively. These damages – commonly known as non-economic compensation – do not exist to replace previous financial losses related to wrongful death. Instead, they are designed to provide compensation for the subjective losses that wrongful death causes.
These subjective losses generally cover the emotional hardship surviving relatives deal with after an unexpected death. Damages could also include the grief and anguish that surviving relatives experience.
Family Could Be Compensated for Losing Loved One’s Emotional Support
There could also be compensation available for how the loss of a loved one could affect a surviving family member’s life moving forward. These damages could compensate that family member for the loss of the companionship and guidance they otherwise would have enjoyed. What’s more, this type of compensation covers the emotional support that could have been provided had their loved one not died unexpectedly.
Establishing the value of non-economic damages can be challenging as there is no documentary evidence available at trial. Instead, surviving family members and loved ones must show the court through testimony how their loved one’s death has affected their lives.
Punitive Damages Are Rare But Could Be Awarded
Punitive damages are the least common of the three types of compensation. In most circumstances, the court will not allow a plaintiff to pursue these damages. Instead of compensating family members for the hardship they have suffered, these damages exist to punish egregious behavior and dissuade anyone from acting in a similar way.
These damages might be uncommon in wrongful death cases, but there are situations where a court might find them appropriate. Some examples could include a death resulting from domestic violence, a collision with an intoxicated driver, or a fatal maritime accident.
Statutes Designate Who Can Pursue Damages
Not everyone will be able to seek damages for a loved one’s wrongful death. In some states, the law designates which family members would benefit from a wrongful death action and identifies who can bring a wrongful death action forward.
State laws also set a specific timeline for these cases to follow. A wrongful death lawyer who knows the laws in your area can help you decide how to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
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There are Damage Caps on a Limited Number of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
For the most part, there are no limits on the amount of compensation a jury might award in a wrongful death lawsuit. That said, there is one important exception to be aware of. Louisiana has adopted a statute that sets limits on the amount of compensation available for medical malpractice cases. If an act of medical malpractice results in wrongful death, these caps will apply.
The damage caps on medical malpractice cases can be found at RS 9:5628. Under this statute, there is a flat limit of $500,000 for compensation in any injury case resulting from an act of medical malpractice. This statute applies to medical malpractice wrongful death cases, as well. Outside of medical malpractice cases, there are no limits on compensation for wrongful death lawsuits.
Our Attorney Will Advise You on a Wrongful Death Suit’s Damages
From guiding you on the possible damages in a wrongful death case to helping you understand what constitutes wrongful death, our firm is ready to help you every step of the way. Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a challenging and emotional process, but having the right support could allow you to seek justice while you grieve.
The team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers understands how difficult the loss of a loved one can be. Our attorneys will provide you with compassionate legal care that helps you process your grief while protecting your legal rights and your loved one’s rights, too.
To learn more about your legal options, call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers right away at (337) 777-7777 for a free consultation.