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Types of Wrongful Death Damages You Can Recover

This content about wrongful death damages was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

The California wrongful death statute is somewhat vague when it comes to the wrongful death damages you can expect to recover after a loved one has passed due to someone else’s negligence or intentional harm.

The damages that can be recovered will depend on a variety of factors, which makes it hard to say exactly the amount of compensation you may receive without a thorough assessment of your case.

Although the best way to learn about the potential recovery you can receive is through an attorney specialized in wrongful death cases, the following information can help shed a light what you may be able to receive as compensation.

Types of wrongful death damages

A wrongful death suit in California may seek two broad types of damages: economic and non-economic. Non-economic damages are also known as general damages and they are associated with the loss of the relationship.

General damages include the following:

  • Loss of the decedent’s companionship, affection, moral support, comfort and care
  • Loss of guidance or training
  • Loss of the enjoyment of intimate relations

Economic damages, on the other hand, encompass quantifiable losses that are a result of the victim’s death. Some of the losses that can be recovered by surviving family members are the following:

  • Funeral and burial/cremation expenses
  • Financial support provided by the victim
  • The approximate amount of income and benefits that the decedent would have earned in their lifetime had a wrongful death not occurred
  • Loss of household services, such as cleaning, landscaping, cooking, etc.
  • Medical treatment expenses associated with the injury that resulted in death
  • Calculating damages in wrongful death suits

When it comes to non-economic damages, there is no fixed standard. California juries must use their judgment to determine a reasonable amount.  Certain elements cannot be considered when making this decision, such as the grief or sorrow that the survivors have endured, as well as the economic status of the plaintiff.

Calculating economic damages requires expert analysis given the many elements that must be taken into account, such as the life expectancy of the decedent or surviving family (the shorter of the two).

Other elements that are considered are the education, abilities and skills of the deceased, the victim’s health, the victim’s potential to be promoted or receive raises and other adjustments to income, among others.

In both cases, experts are used to determine the monetary value of these losses.

How can to pursue damages

Determining damages in wrongful death cases is a process that requires the knowledge of experts due to the many elements at play.

A skilled attorney knows how to persuade and prove to the court that you are entitled to damages, but remember that there is a 2-year time limit to file for wrongful death damages in California, so don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a lawyer.

Even though the damages will never replace the significance of your loved one’s life, you deserve to be protected from the financial impact of this difficult loss.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.