Types Of Damages In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

by | Published on Aug 9, 2021 | Medical Record Review

If anyone loses their life due to the negligence or intentional act of another person, their survivors who had a relationship with them such as spouse or parents (based on the concerned state’s law) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This can occur in a variety of situations, such as intentionally killing a victim, death occurred as a result of medical malpractice, birth injuries, occupational hazards, and product defects, any criminal actions or as a result of car accident injuries. Certain personal injury cases may also turn into wrongful death claims. Attorneys have to collect relevant evidence including medical records to prove that the defendant is responsible for the victim’s death. Medical review solutions are of great support for lawyers to get important medical summaries and thus understand the case clearly.

Key elements to prove in such a case are – the defendant’s negligent actions, breach of duty, causation of death and damages such as hospitalizations, medical expenses, burial costs, loss of income, loss of potential earnings, pain and suffering of the victim and more.

In case of medical negligence, the attorney may have to prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care and the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of the death, and the death caused the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover. Damages in such a claim refer to categories of losses for which a survivor might be able to receive compensation for.

Major types of damages (nolo.com) in a wrongful death lawsuit are – economic, non-economic, and punitive.

  • Economic damages refer to the financial contributions the victim would have made to the survivors if they didn’t die, such as medical and funeral expenses connected to the death, loss of the victim’s expected earnings and benefits (pension plans or medical coverage), loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death, and more.
  • Non-economic damages may include damages for the survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering, loss of the care and protection from the deceased, loss of love and companionship from the deceased, and loss of consortium from a deceased spouse.
  • Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for especially bad conduct, which helps to discourage similar behavior in the future. In most states, punitive damages are awarded, only when the death was caused by “intentional misconduct” or “gross negligence”.

Most state laws require the lawsuit to be filed within two years of the date of the misconduct that caused the death of the victim. However, if the deceased is a minor or one with mental disabilities, special rules may apply.

While the primary category permits recovery of damages experienced by the deceased from the moment of the negligent act causing the death, until the time of the decedent’s death, the second broad category of damages covers those losses faced by the survivors after the deceased’s death and this category is meant to compensate the family survivors for their financial losses.

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Wrongful death damages are often awarded to surviving spouse, minor children or parents of a minor child who has passed away. Common types of evidence that lawyers may use to prove the defendant’s negligence and damages include: medical reports, eyewitness statements, testimonies of experts, police reports, photographs of the accident scene, video footage of the accident and more. Medical records of the deceased serve as the most critical evidence to be collected in the case of a wrongful death suit. Medical review companies can support lawyers to get an accurate review of these records and keep them well organized and indexed for faster reference.

Types of Damages Recoverable in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Punitive Damages for Medical Malpractice
Key Tips to Collect and Organize Medical Records

Disclaimer: The content in this article has been sourced from reliable internet resources and is intended as informative material only. For a professional opinion in this regard, consult a personal injury attorney.

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