When a loved one is killed in an accident, money cannot replace them. However, you and your family may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages to help you all move forward. With lost income, lost childcare, and many other effects of losing a loved one, the damages in a wrongful death case can be substantial. But how do courts figure out how much to pay?
Courts calculate damages in wrongful death cases by looking at the sum-total of both economic and non-economic effects. Economic damages can be paid to cover bills and other expenses that your family has faced because of the death. Non-economic damages can be harder to calculate, but courts can still award damages for these harms.
If you lost a loved one in an accident, the Maryland wrongful death lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras may be able to help. Call our law offices today to schedule a free consultation on your potential case. Our phone number is (410) 694-7291.
Types of Damages You Can Claim in a Maryland Wrongful Death Case
To be able to calculate damages in any case, you have to first look at all of the types of damages that you can claim. Damages in most lawsuits are broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages, as mentioned, include damages that have a price or value attached. This could include things like medical bills your loved one faced before their death or the cost of funeral bills. Non-economic damages include things that do not have a clear value but nonetheless are real harms that the victims faced. This can include things like mental anguish and grief.
Damages can also be broken down in two other ways: damages that the victim would have faced and damages that the family faces. If the victim had survived the accident, they would have been able to file a lawsuit in which they could have claimed damages for medical care, lost wages, and more. Since they died, the surviving family can file that lawsuit instead. However, the surviving family also faces its own expenses and harms. These damages include things like funeral costs.
Let’s take a closer look at these categories of damages:
Deceased Victim’s Economic Damages
Any monetary damages that the deceased victim would have claimed in a personal injury lawsuit can be claimed in your wrongful death case. This means that if the victim faced medical bills, property damage, or other direct results of the accident, the family can claim these damages in the wrongful death case.
Some economic damages are avoided because of the death. For instance, ongoing medical care costs for the surviving victim of a car accident could be expensive if they needed ongoing therapy or rehab. the surviving family can only claim economic damages that actually accrued before their loved one died.
Again, these damages include any bills or expenses, which could include lost wages before death, ambulance fees, medical costs, and more. If the victim lingered before death, these damages could be greater. This is often the case for people who ultimately pass after a long-term illness acquired at work or victims who are put into comas after an accident.
Deceased Victim’s Non-Economic Damages
If your loved one suffered before their death, those damages can often be included in a wrongful death lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers often seek to help victims who survive accidents claim compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and other intangible effects of their injuries. If your loved one died, they could have faced these kinds of damages before death. Damages for those harms can sometimes pass to the surviving family members.
If the victim suffered substantial injuries and lingered in pain for a long time before dying, these damages could be higher. Talk to a Maryland wrongful death lawyer for help calculating the specific amounts you can claim. Courts often base these payments off of what the parties claim the damages should cost and what other similar cases awarded for similar harms.
Surviving Family’s Economic Damages
In the wake of a loved one’s death, your family can be left with substantial expenses. If the loved one who died was a child, there may be little to no additional expenses, and the majority of your claims will be for non-economic damages your family faces. However, when parents and spouses die, the family’s economic effects can be severe.
If the “primary breadwinner” in your family passed away, your family could be left without income. Had they survived, they may have later gotten raises or bonuses over their lifetime. Those increased wages will also go away. Because of this, surviving families can typically use financial experts to help them project what the victim’s wages would have been over the rest of their life, and they can claim those lost earnings in the wrongful death case. Your Baltimore wrongful death attorneys can help you understand whether this is necessary.
Your family may also face expenses such as funeral and burial costs. If a surviving spouse has to go back to work or work additional hours, you could also face increased childcare costs or other expenses. Lost household services and more can also result in damages.
Surviving Family’s Non-Economic Damages
The grief, anguish, and other emotions you face can be compensated. Calculating these damages is often the hardest in a wrongful death case because they are so subjective. Your Maryland wrongful death lawyers can help you understand the specific values you can claim in your case. Note that damages can also be claimed for things like lost companionship, lost advice/counsel, and more.
Call Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help
If you lost a loved one and want help calculating how much your case could be worth, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ Mount Airy wrongful death attorneys today. We offer free case consultations to help families considering wrongful death claims understand their options. Call (410) 694-7291 today.