Wrongful Death Damages: Types of Compensation and Factors That May Affect What You Receive
The emotional distress and heartache you feel when you lose a loved one can be unbearable, especially when his death was caused by a business’ or a person’s senseless negligence. The death of a family member can also take a huge financial toll on your family when you suddenly lose the wages or other income your family member contributed to the household. In Washington, family members may be able to obtain compensation by filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. If you need to pursue this type of claim, it is important to understand what compensation you can recover.
Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Actions in Washington State
While no amount of compensation can erase what happened or take away your pain, it can help you and your family move forward with your lives. If you file a wrongful death claim, the compensation will be paid to your loved one’s estate. If he is a minor, it would be paid to his parents. The following types of compensation can be received in wrongful death actions:
The deceased person’s last medical bills
Funeral and burial expenses
Lost wages and other income that the deceased person would have likely received if he had lived
Pain and suffering that the deceased person experienced during his last illness and death
Damage to property of the deceased person
Loss of the deceased person’s love, support, care, services and companionship by his family members
What Factors Can Influence the Compensation You Receive in a Wrongful Death Action?
Like in other personal injury cases, there are a number of factors that could affect the amount of compensation you receive in a wrongful death action. Some of them include the following:
Age of the deceased person. The age of your loved one at his death will be important in determining how much compensation you are entitled to because it affects his future earning capacity. For example, a 39-year-old physician’s earning power is much greater than a 70-year-old retired person.
Decedent’s income and future earning capacity. The deceased person’s current income and his potential future earning capacity if he had lived can have a huge impact on the amount of compensation you receive as this can be a large portion of what you are entitled to if your loved one earned high wages.
Ages and circumstances of the family. The number of dependents the decedent had and their financial dependence on the deceased person will influence the amount of compensation they are entitled to, making the claim larger and sometimes harder to resolve.
Insurance policy limits. The amount of insurance coverage for your claim will also influence your claim in a very practical way. This will be the maximum amount that you are likely to receive regardless of how much you could be entitled to. Often it does not make practical sense to pursue a claim against the negligent individual.
Experienced wrongful death attorney. An experienced wrongful death attorney is essential for receiving the compensation you deserve. He will be skilled in investigating your claim and collecting the evidence you need to build your case. He will also have a track record of success in negotiating settlements and taking cases to trial when necessary.
Was a family member killed in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or other catastrophic accident? Let our experienced legal team take over the burden of filing your claim and fighting for the compensation you and your family deserve. Call our office today so we can schedule your free consultation.