What Factors Determine the Amount of a Wrongful Death Award?

A wrongful death action may arise when someone acts in a negligent, neglectful, or otherwise wrongful manner so as to cause the death of another person. In that situation, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, or certain surviving family members, may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent person or entity. The goal of a wrongful death claim, like a personal injury claim, is to receive a monetary damages award that compensates the deceased’s surviving family for their losses.

There are three potential types of damages that may be awarded or compensated in a wrongful death case. Economic losses include any financial losses and losses of service that the family experiences as a result of the individual’s death. Placing a value on economic losses is fairly easy. For instance, a medical bill has a monetary value on it and it should be paid by the responsible party. Funeral expenses are another common type of economic damage.

Non-economic losses involve loss of love and companionship. It is obviously impossible to place a monetary value on the loss of a child, sibling, spouse, or parent. The goal with this type of damages is to compensate the family in some way for their tragic losses. There are many different factors in reaching a monetary amount with respect to non-economic damages, but a damages award does take into account loss of companionship, love and affection, emotional and mental stress, and pain and suffering.

In some cases, punitive damages are awarded as punishment for an individual’s intentional wrongdoing or outrageous behavior. A common example of a case in which a punitive damages award might be appropriate is one in which a drunk driver kills a pedestrian or someone in another vehicle.

When you are a surviving family member with a wrongful death claim you need advice and counsel from an experienced lawyer who can determine your options, based on your situation, and help you make the decisions in your case that are best for you and your family. The Madison wrongful death attorneys of Boller & Vaughan handle wrongful death and personal injury cases on a daily basis, and we know what it takes to get the compensation that you need. Take the first step and call our office today to set up your free consultation with one of our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers.


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