When a family or friend passes away in a motor vehicle accident, it is devastating for the loved ones left behind. If the accident was caused by the negligence or misconduct of the other driver, they may bring an action for wrongful death.
While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring the victim back, it can provide compensation to help their loved ones move forward. To successfully bring an action for wrongful death, they must prove that there was a death of a human being, the death was caused by negligence or with intent to cause harm, there are surviving family members who have a monetary loss and there is a personal representative assigned to the estate.
Damages for wrongful death are considered in light of the injuries that the loved ones suffered as a result of the death. This includes loss of support, loss of services, medical expenses and funeral expenses.
The jury will often consider the deceased person’s age, what their earning capacity was during their lifetime, their life expectancy and health in determining the amount to award. However, the court can adjust this up or down, depending on the circumstances. Loved ones can offer expert testimony to support the monetary contributions the deceased person provided to his or her family.
The jury may also consider damages for the pain and suffering the deceased person experienced before his or her death.
An experienced attorney can provide guidance and advice about wrongful death and pursue compensation on the family’s behalf.