How Are Damages Calculated in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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When you’ve lost a loved one because of someone else’s careless or negligent act, determining the financial impact of your loss may be the furthest thing from your mind. Once you’ve had some time to grieve, though, you’ll want to carefully assess the financial consequences of your loved one’s accidental or wrongful death.

As a general rule, there are three types of damages you can pursue in a claim for wrongful death:

  • Tangible out of pocket, or economic, losses
  • Intangible, or non-economic, losses
  • Punitive damages
  • Economic Losses

    Those losses for which it’s relatively easy to identify a specific dollar amount are generally referred to as economic losses. They can include:

    • Any financial support the deceased would have provided you during their normal life expectancy, such as earnings and wages
    • Any lost benefits, such as pensions or medical insurance
    • Any diminished inheritance due to the wrongful death
    • Any costs of medical care or funeral expenses
    • Any loss of services the decedent would have provided

    Non-Economic Losses

    You can also seek compensation for less tangible losses, such as:

    • Loss of consortium or companionship with a spouse
    • Loss of love or society of a family member
    • Loss of the care, nurturing, guidance, training, protection or advice of a parent or guardian
    • Compensation of any emotional or mental pain and suffering you experience because of the death of your loved one

    Punitive Damages

    Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases, but may be granted if it can be shown that the defendant acted with callous disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are designed both to punish the wrongdoer and to send a message to others who may be inclined to act in similar fashion.

    Contact Our Office

    We offer a free initial consultation to all personal injury clients. To set up a private meeting, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at 732-247-3600 or in Somerville at 908-448-2560.

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