Pursuing a wrongful death claim is a significant decision for any family grieving the loss of a loved one. These claims are legal actions wherein the survivors seek compensation for the losses they have suffered due to the untimely death of a family member.
While monetary compensation can never make up for the loss of a loved one, several issues make pursuing a wrongful death claim worth considering for many families.
Compensation for economic and non-economic losses
A successful wrongful death claim can provide financial relief for surviving family members. Economic damages can include compensation for lost wages, especially if the deceased was the primary breadwinner, as well as the loss of future earnings and benefits. Additionally, families can potentially receive compensation for medical bills related to the deceased’s final illness or injury and funeral expenses.
Wrongful death claims can also result in non-economic damage awards. Non-economic damages acknowledge and address the pain and suffering of the deceased’s family members. Compensation can also be sought for loss of companionship, care and guidance, especially in cases where a parent or spouse is lost.
Holding responsible parties accountable
Pursuing a wrongful death claim can serve to hold the responsible party or parties accountable for their actions. By holding these parties accountable, it can provide a sense of justice to the family. As the civil and criminal courts are distinct in the U.S., it can be possible to hold someone accountable for wrongdoing in civil court regardless of how they are treated by the criminal justice system. For example, O.J. Simpson was famously acquitted in criminal court but was ordered to pay millions in civil court for the same matter.
With all of this said, it’s important to acknowledge that pursuing a wrongful death claim can be emotionally taxing. The legal process can be lengthy. Families should consider whether they have the emotional and psychological resilience to endure this process to pursue any compensation that they may be due.
Ultimately, each family must weigh these factors in the context of their unique situation to make the best decision for them specifically.