Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by the family of a person who has died due to the deliberate, reckless, or negligent actions of another. The goal of the wrongful death claim is to gain compensation for close relatives, in order to help defray medical costs and provide financial support. A wrongful death lawsuit may also seek damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, and loss of companionship or support for the surviving relatives. Wrongful death lawyers may attempt to ensure that the family’s emotional suffering is not augmented with unnecessary financial stress.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim? Generally, the death must have been caused, in whole or part, by the conduct of the wrongdoer. There must be a survivor of the decedents. These survivors are defined as: the decedents spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support, any blood relatives and adopted brothers and sisters. This includes children born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father, unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.
What Kinds of Damages are Recoverable in Wrongful Death Claim? Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor may be considered.
The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Minor children of the decedent, and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors. Medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent’s injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them.
It is important to know what to do to protect the legal rights of yourself and your loved ones. Selecting the right attorney is an important decision. In the past John Moreno has successfully handled thousands of injury cases. Call (916) 922-1233 for a free injury accident case consultation.
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