When a family member is killed, the surviving family members are often emotionally distraught. This grief can be exacerbated when the death was caused by the negligence of another person and happened suddenly. While the family deals with their emotional pain, they often have a lot of other decisions that need to be made. There is the funeral, settling the person's estate and others. While these issues can be important, family member should not forget about the possibility of taking legal action against a negligent party. In particular, families need to consider a wrongful death suit.
In many cases a wrongful death suit can help compensate families for their loss. A variety of damages may be available when a person has been killed by another's negligence. These damages will cover the financial and emotional losses suffered by the family as a result of the death. These are often called the pecuniary losses.
These damages include costs that the family has incurred because of the death including funeral expenses. It can also include any medical costs that were incurred before the person died. These damages will often include other types of losses suffered by the family. These can include the loss of income by a wage earner, the loss of a potential inheritance in the future, the loss of parental guidance and the loss of companionship.
The court will often strive to provide fair and just compensation to the family of the victim. However, a number of factors -- including the victim's age, intelligence, earning capacity, health and life expectancy -- can be taken into account when determining the actual award. An attorney can better help people understand that they may be entitled to following the wrongful death of a loved one.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed Dec. 1, 2014