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What Kind Of Damages Can You Sue For In Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

A loved one’s death is always a traumatic experience. However, the pain and anguish associated with losing a loved because of another party’s negligence can be many times more difficult to bear. That said, should evidence prove that someone’s death was caused for wrongful reasons, said individual’s estate or close relations might be entitled to compensation referred to in legal terms as damages.

The personal injury law firm of KBA Attorneys invites potential clients residing in Maryland and Virginia and other interested parties to read this brief blog discussing wrongful death lawsuits and the possible damages such civil actions may yield.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Defined

Civil suits involving a wrongful death claim can be brought against an individual or entity whose purported deliberate or negligent actions contributed to the death of the person in question. Common wrongful death actions include events such as:

  • Medical or surgical errors executed by physicians
  • Automobile accidents
  • Long term exposure to toxic chemicals that precipitated a terminal illness

In some instances, wrongful death claims might be initiated following a criminal procedure. For example, someone on trial for murdering another individual might be subjected to a wrongful death claim by the deceased person’s family or estate.

The preceding examples, however, are merely a few instances. Should a client believe, their relative died under other inauspicious circumstances and felt wrongful death might be in play, that client is encouraged to present the facts and any additional pertinent information to a personal injury attorney to determine the validity and potential success of any civil action.

A Personal Injury Attorney’s Value

In order to successfully prove to an adjudicating body (judge or jury) that wrongful death occurred, a claimant must prove several key elements including:

  • The decedent’s death occurred because of some negligent or deliberate act
  • Said act directly contributed to the decedent’s passing
  • The damages the deceased individual’s family or estate seeks are directly attributable to the loss of the decedent

A personal injury lawyer will attempt to formulate a case that proves these critical points by executing actions such as:

  • Collecting evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Conferring with the appropriate medical experts
  • Providing documentation (financial statements) demonstrating how the decedent’s passing is or will continue to cause said individual’s family hardship

A personal injury attorney might perform other functions depending upon the specifics surrounding the case.

Potential Damages

The primary category of compensation estates or relatives seek in wrongful death claims is legally referred to pecuniary damages. These damages attempt to address the financial hardship a decedent’s family might suffer as a result of their passing. An adjudicating body will weigh several factors before rendering a final decision such as:

  • The decedent’s age
  • Life expectancy
  • Income
  • Estimated future earning capacity
  • If the decedent had children

If the evidence proves a decedent’s passing resulted from deliberate actions, said individual’s relative or estate might also be awarded punitive damages.

If you believe a loved one died due to another party’s negligent actions, please contact KBA Attorneys. We have offices conveniently located in Reston, Virginia and Bel Air, Maryland.

  1. FindLaw. "Wrongful Death Overview", FindLaw, https://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/wrongful-death-overview.html. Accessed January 11th, 2019.
  2. Nolo. "Wrongful Death Claims: An Overview", Nolo, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/wrongful-death-claims-overview-30141.html. Accessed January 11th, 2019.