10 Types of Damages Surviving Spouses Can Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim

When a person has been killed because of another’s negligence or error, oftentimes the victim’s surviving spouse will file a wrongful death claim against the liable party. Through this claim, the spouse can seek compensation for a number of losses and damages suffered because of the death.

Continue reading this guide to learn more about the types of damages a spouse can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit.

10 Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

Medical Costs

Medical expenses are some of the most common wrongful death damages you can recover. These include any medical expenses incurred from the time of the accident or injury up to the victim’s death. For example, you could claim expenses like doctor’s bills, ambulance rides, medicine, testing, and more.

Medical bills can be devastating after a serious accident. You shouldn’t have to pay for those expenses when your spouse’s death was caused by gross negligence.

Lost Income

This can include lost income while the victim was in the hospital and the deceased’s future expected earnings now lost. If your spouse was working, you deserve compensation for their lost income. Losing half or more of your household income can be financially devastating. Make sure you claim damages for your spouse’s current and future earnings.

Lost Benefits

If the victim also had a pension, provided medical insurance, or other types of benefits to the spouse, these may also be sought as damages in a wrongful death case. Some people might not think about the benefits their spouse lost once they passed away.

Losing your spouse can be one of the hardest things you go through. You deserve compensation for the benefits that your spouse can no longer receive because their life was taken away from them.

Burial and Funeral Expenses

You can seek compensation for reasonable expenses associated with the victim’s burial, cremation, or funeral. This is helpful because funeral expenses can be costly. Since your spouse’s death was avoidable, you shouldn’t have to pay for these costs.

Loss of Consortium

Though the loss of consortium is an intangible item, this refers to the physical relationship spouses share, which ceases when one spouse has perished. This is a type of pain and suffering loss, which is intangible damage that doesn’t have a monetary value assigned to it.

Loss of Love, Society, or Companionship

This is also intangible damage, referring to the loss of emotional support the spouse’s death has caused you and your family members. Your relationship with your spouse is irreplaceable. No amount of money can make up for what you lost. You should still seek compensation for this type of damage to hold the liable party accountable.

Lost Household Services

If the victim provided household services, such as child care, cleaning, or cooking, you may be able to seek compensation for those lost services. For example, if your spouse stayed home full-time to take care of the household, you could possibly seek damages for this loss, especially if you need to hire additional help to take care of your children or house in place of your spouse.

Mental Anguish

The loss of your spouse is never easy. However, if the cause of their death was avoidable and due to negligence, it’s even more difficult to deal with. As their spouse, you can recover damages for mental and emotional pain or anguish because of the death. Your pain and grief are real, and you deserve compensation for the suffering you’re going through.

Lost Inheritance

When a victim was in place to receive an inheritance but died too soon, your may look to recoup that inheritance. You may be entitled to that inheritance since your spouse died before they could receive it.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded when extremely reckless or negligent actions caused the victim’s death. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the liable party and to discourage them from acting in such a dangerous way again. You can seek punitive damages if your spouse died due to gross negligence.

How Are Damages Calculated?

As the surviving spouse, you may wonder how damages in your wrongful death claim will be calculated. Any monetary losses, such as medical bills and funeral expenses, are easy to calculate. The total monetary losses would be added together to create your total.

Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are less straightforward to calculate. This is because they are intangible losses that don’t have a monetary value assigned to them. A wrongful death lawyer can help you total your non-economic damages. And they will ensure that you are properly compensated for both your economic and non-economic losses.=

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

Losing a partner in a wrongful death accident can cause incurable pain for the surviving spouse. While money can never replace your spouse, you still deserve to live with financial security. Seeking compensation can also help hold the liable parties accountable so devastating accidents like what your spouse experienced can be avoided in the future.

For more information on wrongful death claims and beneficiaries, or to discuss a specific case, Clarksburg residents should contact an attorney at Miley Legal today.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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