Losing a loved one can be an emotionally fraught experience, more so when the loved one passed away because of someone else’s carelessness. It makes sense to want to hold the responsible party accountable. You can hold the at-fault party accountable by pursuing damages for your loss. If you want to know more about pursuing damages in West Palm Beach wrongful death actions, consult a qualified wrongful death attorney that can answer your questions. A compassionate lawyer can help you pursue justice.
There are two main types of damages in any personal injury matter and those damages are economic damages and non-economic damages. The economic damages are the damages that are certain: past medical expenses, past lost wages, future medical expenses, future lost wages, and all tangible damages that can be computed.
Non-economic damages are those damages which are a little bit more difficult to quantify. They are more subjective. Those are the types of damages associated with pain and suffering, somebody’s grief, the loss of capacity to enjoy life, things like that. As it relates to a wrongful death claim, there are statutes in Florida that deal with wrongful death such as Chapter 768.16, which defines the damages that are available in a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File for Damages?
Determining who can file for or recover damages in West Palm Beach wrongful death actions depends on the type of action. If it is just a wrongful death action that is not related to medical malpractice then the following people can bring a claim:
- A surviving spouse
- Parents can bring a claim
- Children of the decedent
Any relative can bring a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one so long as they are not dealing with a wrongful death associated with a medical malpractice claim.
Common Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Action
The most common types of damages in West Palm Beach wrongful death actions deal with the loss of support and services from a decedent. Usually, surviving spouses and children recover damages for loss of support and services. They may recover for the loss of companionship, mental pain and suffering, parental companionship, instruction, or medical and funeral expenses.
The estate, depending on whether or not the decedent was working at the time, can recover for the lost earning capacity of the decedent. If a person is dealing with somebody who was younger and was earning $50,000 a year, the estate can make a claim for those lost wages for what would have been the remainder of a normal work-life expectancy.
Role of Economic Damages in Wrongful Death Actions
Economic damages are the types of damages that are quantifiable. For example, if the decedent suffered medical expenses prior to death, if the person did not die immediately, there are past medical expenses that are owed to the facility that provided care. That is one element of economic damages and because it is a death claim, the person is not going to have future medical expenses.
However, they may have lost wages going into the future. An example of that is if someone was earning $50,000 a year and they were 45 years old at the time of their death, the estate can make a claim for $50,000 from age 45 through the date of what would have been the normal work-life expectancy, which would be considered the age of retirement.
How Loss Can Result in Recovering Damages
There are different relationships that people can have. Depending on the strength of that relationship, grief can vary in degree. For example, if a person has a surviving spouse and the couple was married for 40 years, there may be a different level of grief than the loss of a family member that was distant and they only spoke with once every year. When discussing damage values associated with grief, that is something that, usually, a jury will determine based on a case-by-case basis and the strength of that relationship at the time of death.
Loss of Love and Affection, Loss of Companionship, Loss of Society and Loss of Consortium
Loss of love and affection, loss of companionship, loss of society, and loss of consortium are all elements of damages that a jury will evaluate when calculating damages in West Palm Beach wrongful death actions. It depends on the nature of the relationship.
If an attorney is working with one half of a couple that was separated but not legally divorced, certainly the loss of love and affection would be very different from a couple that had been married for 45 years and was still very much in love.The extent of the relationship also affects how much money a jury would award, but each of these elements plays into the damages that are available under Florida’s wrongful death statute.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help People Calculate Wrongful Death Damages
Wrongful death actions can be difficult to navigate alone, which is why it is important to consult a qualified wrongful death lawyer. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you calculate non-economic damages based on what juries have awarded in the past and not necessarily just personal experience. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, consult a skilled wrongful death that could help you recover damages in West Palm Beach wrongful death actions, and hold the responsible party accountable.