How can a court determine wrongful death damages?

Losing a loved one to negligence is an event no one should have to endure. The emotional pain of the loss is often worse because the family has to bear the costs of burial and a funeral in addition to the deprivation of money the loved one would have provided for the family. Should you find yourself mourning the death of a parent or spouse, filing a wrongful death suit may help you recoup many of these monetary losses.

Along with holding a negligent party accountable, the goal of a wrongful death suit is to obtain monetary compensation for the survivors of the decedent. Since the circumstances surrounding someone’s death often vary, a court will look at a variety of factors when determining damages.

Characteristics of the deceased

According to FindLaw, a court will examine personal characteristics of the person who died, such as the age of the person. A court is more likely to find that someone who died at twenty-six years of age had a lot more earning years left than an individual who died at age sixty. Other factors such as the health of the person prior to his or her death and the decedent’s life expectancy may also contribute to the court’s damages determination.

A court may also weigh the character of a decedent. If your loved one was responsible with money, a court could increase your compensation. However, some courts will reduce damages if a deceased person tended to spend a lot and did not put money away for family members.

The existence of dependents

The relationship of the decedent to others will also matter. If a decedent had dependents that rely on them for food, housing, or education, the court can take losses to the dependents into consideration. For example, if you lose a spouse to negligence, you could be eligible for the lost earnings of your loved one.

If the decedent also has children, the loss of parental guidance can be a factor that the court considers when determining damages. With children involved, a court may also consider a potential loss of inheritance from your deceased loved one. All of these factors might contribute to larger damages in a wrongful death case.

 

Losing a loved one to negligence is an event no one should have to endure. The emotional pain of the loss is often worse because the family has to bear the costs of burial and a funeral, plus the deprivation of money the loved one would have provided for the family. Should you find yourself mourning the death of a parent or spouse, filing a wrongful death suit may help you recoup many of these monetary losses. 

Along with holding a negligent party accountable, the goal of a wrongful death suit is to arrive at a monetary value for the survivors of the decedent. Since the circumstances surrounding someone’s death often vary, a court may take different factors into account when determining damages. 

Characteristics of the deceased

According to FindLaw, a court will examine personal characteristics of the person who died, such as the age of the person. A court is more likely to find that someone who died at twenty-six had a lot more earning years left than an individual who died at age sixty. Other factors such as the health of the person prior to his or her death and the decedent’s life expectancy may also contribute to the process. 

A court may also weigh the character of a decedent. If your loved one was responsible with money, a court will probably increase your compensation. However, some courts will reduce damages if a deceased person tended to spend a lot and did not put money away for family members. 

The existence of dependents

The relationship of the decedent to others will also matter. Some people die but no one depends on them for food, housing or education. Conversely, if a decedent had dependents, the court will take losses to the dependents into consideration. So if you lose a spouse to negligence, you would be eligible for the lost earnings of your loved one. 

If you also have children, the loss of parental guidance should be a factor. With children involved, a court may also consider a potential loss of inheritance from your deceased loved one. All of these factors might contribute to larger damages in a wrongful death case.