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What Types of Damages Are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Suit?

The Types of Damages Available in Wrongful Death Suits

Did you know that the average wrongful death lawsuit results in a payout of around $500,000 to $1 million? These sorts of lawsuits tend to result in higher compensation amounts because there are so many types of damages the plaintiff can seek. If you file a lawsuit for wrongful death, you can seek damages for one or more of these reasons.

Burial Expenses

One of the main types of compensation for wrongful death is compensation for burial expenses. Since you would not have had to pay to bury the person if they were alive, the negligent party has to cover the costs. This type of damage includes a wide range of expenses. You can ask for compensation for things like post-mortuary hair and makeup, coffins, and tombstones. Damages should also include money for the costs associated with buying a burial plot or cremating the person.

Hospital and Medical Expenses

Just like any other personal injury lawsuit, you have the right to ask the negligent party to pay any medical bills. Your Allentown personal injury lawyer can argue for you to get compensation for treating any injury that arises from the accident. Even if the injury didn't directly lead to the death, you still deserve compensation if the defendant was responsible. This means that if someone was hit by a car, broke their leg and ribs, and died due to lung injuries, you can still sue for the cost of treating the broken leg.

Estate Administration Fees

After a person dies, there are a variety of fees associated with estate administration. You might have to hire a private investigator to track down heirs or get an accountant to determine the total value of the assets. Any of these sorts of fees can be included in the wrongful death damages.

Lost Wages

The reason wrongful death suits tend to have such a high payout is often due to damages related to lost wages. Once a person dies, the negligent party may have to pay for the deceased's lost earning potential. This is a lump sum that the person would have reasonably been expected to earn over the course of their life. So for example, if the deceased had just graduated from school with a computer science degree, their spouse could reasonably ask for an amount equal to 40 years of a software developer's annual salary. These damages are usually only available to the deceased's direct relatives. While the representative of the deceased's estate can sue for things like burial expenses, they cannot ask for compensation for wages. Only the person's spouse, children, or parents can ask for compensation for lost wages because they would've potentially received some of these wages if the person were still alive.

Emotional Damages

The deceased's surviving family can also ask for compensation for their pain and suffering. These damages are meant to compensate the family for losing the deceased's assistance, guidance, and comfort. Generally, to seek this compensation, you have to show that the deceased's death caused you great amounts of trauma. This is often one of the most complicated types of damages to calculate because it is impossible to put a value on a person's life. The government doesn't have a formula or statutory guideline outlining how much a person can ask for. It is left entirely up to the discretion of the judge and jury, so it usually relies on being able to show you had a solid relationship with the person and will be affected by their death for the rest of your life. If you are considering a lawsuit for wrongful death, Metzger & Kleiner can assist you. Our Allentown personal injury lawyers will carefully consider your case and help you figure out how much compensation you should ask for. People throughout the Lehigh Valley area count on us to provide dedicated, knowledgeable representation in court. To schedule a free consultation, call 215-567-6616 or send us a message now.

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