Going through a lawsuit can be very exhausting for the loved ones of the person who died due to someone else’s negligence. Before filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you have to know how this procedure works.
What are the Things that Must Be Proven?
You should be able to establish that the organization or person you are suing was to blame for the demise of your one. However, wrongful death cases are actually handled in the US civil court, hence a lower burden of proof exists there than in the criminal court. Usually, you have to prove there is more than 50% chance the defendant party caused the death of your loved one. To win the case, a surviving family member will have to prove that:
- The person passed away (meaning you have to provide a certificate giving information about the death thereof)
- Another individual’s actions caused the demise, without or with intent to cause harm.
- That the member suffered monetary loss because of the demise.
What Damages Are Recoverable
Damages usually recovered in a wrongful death case are divided into multiple categories: “noneconomic” and “economic”. Economic damages are the easiest ones to work out and these include medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of benefits.
The final two categories might just be relatively more difficult to work out than the first two. For instance, if the deceased was an actual stay-at-home mother or father, then special care may be taken by the jury to ensure that their economic value is not overlooked. The age of the decedent, his or her income, and spending habits are considered, among other factors. So, a wrongful death victim’s family member who did not have much income, have spent his or her earnings poorly and who had few benefits such as healthcare would possibly recover less than what a high-income saver would with great benefits.
Noneconomic damages are the ones that are harder to assign an actual monetary value. These include pain and suffering, as well as the loss of companionship, of consortium and of parental guidance.
A jury might also grant punitive damages. In fact, punitive damages are rarer than the other above-mentioned types of compensation. These serve as a means to punish serious wrongdoing, and at the same discourage other people from committing the same.