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Lawsuits & Litigation

What Damages Can You Claim for Wrongful Death?

— November 17, 2022

Accidents can cause the victim’s death and push the loved ones to file for a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s also a tragedy that can cause psychological and emotional stress to the victim’s family. Such inconveniences entitle them to a claim. But, what can they get once they succeed in winning their case?  This article will shed some light on the possible compensatory damages the survivors can get.

Damages Owed to the Decedent

There are many types of damages that could go to the ones who filed for wrongful death claims:

  • Damages for the pain and suffering before death 
  • Damages to the plaintiff after the death of the loved one

The damages can include both economic and non-economic damages that both the victim and their surviving loved ones went through. The circumstances and the losses can impact the kind of damages they can receive. You can gain a deeper understanding of such damages when you consult wrongful death attorneys from reliable firms. Visiting sites such as can help you in this regard.

Types of Damages

  1. Economic Damages 

These refer to the financial losses of the family due to the victim’s death. They can include contributions that the victim could’ve made if they didn’t pass away.

Economic damages may include the following:

  • Lost wages of the victim
  • Benefits loss (medical coverage or pension)
  • Medical and funeral expenses resulting from the death
  • The value of goods and services that the victim could’ve given the loved ones
  • Losing inheritance due to the unexpected death

Meanwhile, below is another type of damages.

  1. Non-Economic Damages

    Deadly Synthetic 'ISO' Implicated in At Least 19 U.S. Deaths
    Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash
  • Pain and suffering, including mental anguish suffered by the survivors
  • Loss of companionship for the spouse or partner
  • Family losing the protection, care, nurturing, and guidance from the victim
  • Loss of love and society from the deceased

Such are non-tangible damages that are considered more valuable.

  1. Punitive Damages

There can be extreme cases where survivors can get awarded with punitive damages. They’re extra compensation that the defendant will have to pay due to malicious intent. It also applies to severe negligence, if the prosecution was able to prove it. 

Punitive damages could be in an extreme form since the amount isn’t capped. The goal of the Supreme Court is to deter the cause of the wrongful death from ever happening again. 

Punitive damages could exceed the number of punitive damages. For example, the plaintiff recovers compensatory damages amounting to USD$150,000. Punitive damages could reach up to USD$450,000.

Who is Entitled to File for Wrongful Death?

The responsibility of filing for a wrongful death claim will depend on the state. It’s also the decision of the state as to which members of the family can sue and which ones will receive the damages. 

The chosen ideal executor of the state, or a surviving family or relative can file for the claim. However, there are also some states that won’t allow any of the mentioned to file the lawsuit.

Establishing the claim could be for any of the following:

  • The spouse, if there are no children present
  • Spouse and children of the victim
  • Parents or grandparents, if the victim has no spouse or children

In most cases, they’re the only ones allowed to file a wrongful death claim.

When Does Wrongful Death Apply?

A wrongful death claim could be the end result when victim didn’t survive to be able to pursue a personal injury claim. Sometimes, the exemption applies to injuries at the workplace, where the worker’s compensation system steps in. The situations could vary, but they can arise from the following:

1. Intentional Killing of the Victim
 Murder is a considerable type of wrongful death. The prosecution must prove that it’s a deliberate intent to cause harm to the victim.
2. Indirect Cause of the Victim’s Death
The victim dies from sustained injuries as a result of any negligent action without the intent of causing harm.
3. Death of the Victim Due to Medical Malpractice
A doctor can misdiagnose a condition, or provide reckless care to the patient. If the patient dies as a result, families can sue for damage.


If you have a loved one taken away by wrongful death, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. You can seek legal counsel to help you investigate the sudden death of a loved one. The right lawyer will help you prove claims to get what you and your loved one deserve.

A wrongful death can cause a significant amount of pain. So, let your voice be heard and let justice prevail in the end.

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