Losing a loved one is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. It takes an enormous toll on you physically and mentally, and the impacts of the event can last a lifetime. It can be even harder to come to terms with the death of a loved one when the cause of their death is another person’s negligence or recklessness.
If you’ve recently lost someone close to you in a catastrophic event caused by negligence, we can’t express how deeply sorry we are. What we can do is give you the knowledge and understanding of what steps you can take to recover damages that are owed to you. Nothing can bring back your loved one, but a wrongful death claim can help you achieve some financial security in your life and give you the money you need to put them to rest with the honor and care they deserve.
What kinds of damages can you claim from a wrongful death lawsuit? The specifics will vary based on the circumstances of your case, so nothing is guaranteed, but there are some wrongful death damages that many families claim in these types of cases.
If your loved one required hospitalization, procedures, surgeries, medication, or any other type of medical care that resulted from the catastrophic incident that ultimately led to their death, you can receive compensation to help pay for those bills. This includes any medical debt that you inherit from your loved one.
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The average funeral in the U.S. can cost between $7,000 and $12,000 dollars. This can include the cost of burial or cremation, services, a plot of land, headstone, and more. Many families can recover these expenses from a wrongful death lawsuit.
Loss of Income
If your loved one was employed and helping to provide for your family at the time of their death, you can obtain compensation for lost wages. This includes wages that were missed because of hospitalization before their death and expected wages that they would have earned in the future.
The losses you can recover are often not only based on the deceased’s paycheck. You can also gain financial compensation based on their total earnings, which include everything from medical insurance, pensions, bonuses, and other types of compensation offered by their employer.
The factors that are taken into consideration when deciding on damages based on loss of income often include the person’s age, health status before their death, future earning capacity, life expectancy, and other variables.
Pain, Suffering, Anguish, etc.
Recently, both the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly passed a reformed Grieving Families Act, a bill that seeks to end the denial of “wrongful death” restitution to families based on their grief and emotional suffering. This act extended the damages that families are able to recover due to pain and suffering, increased the statute of limitations for suits to be brought, and extended the definitions of “surviving close family members.” These additions to the law allow families of deceased individual to claim greater damages due to many types of pain and suffering, including:
- Loss of consortium (companionship for spouses)
- Loss of parental guidance and instruction for children
- Loss of emotional support
If any property, including vehicles, personal items, a home, etc., were damaged or lost due to the catastrophic incident that led to the death of a loved one, you can also claim these as losses in your wrongful death suit. These damages will be determined based on the value of the items, repairs, etc.
Who Can Claim Wrongful Death Damages
Damages awarded by wrongful death lawsuits can typically be claimed by the close surviving family members, including:
The renewed Grieving Families Act in New York will also extend the definition of “close surviving family members” to include:
- Domestic partners
- Foster children
- Step grandchildren
- Those considered Loco Parentis (acting in place of parents)
How to Get Help with a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Even with an extension to the statute of limitations in New York, you still have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim and receive damages. This limitation begins from the date of death for your loved one, not the date of their initial injury.
At Morelli Law, we understand the complexities of wrongful death suits and can help you find who is liable for the damages you are owed. Liable parties can range from individuals to companies, organizations, and even government representatives. We will assess the circumstances of your case and help you bring the strongest case possible against those who have wronged you and your family. If your loved one has been killed in a catastrophic incident or as the result of injuries sustained from a catastrophic incident, call the wrongful death attorneys at Morelli Law Firm today. Consultations are free, and we are ready to hear your case.