An accident resulting in the wrongful death of someone, leaves the family with two legal claims as remedy. These are survival actions and wrongful death claims. This article will discuss common issues in wrongful death laws – damages in general.
Common Issues in Wrongful Death Laws
Wrongful death lawsuits are strictly governed by state law; therefore, each state has their own specific laws and procedures. That being said, there are some common issues found in all state wrongful-death laws. Some of these include the following:
- Which persons are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s estate?
- How a person is appointed to represent the estate
- The types of damages allowed in a wrongful death case
Types of damages allowed in a wrongful death case
Each state has its own rules and laws that govern the type of damages awarded in a wrongful death case. However, there are generally financial damages that are awarded to the beneficiaries of the deceased.
Generally, the beneficiaries are persons who were financially dependent on the deceased. Often this includes the victim’s:
- Any other relatives who were financially supported by the victim
The main type of damages catered for in a wrongful death case is loss of support for all family members. However, such financial support must have existed while the deceased was alive. Thus, only financial dependents stand to benefit from this legal action. The damages awarded for financial support considers the time into the future that the deceased would have supported such dependents.
To receive such damages the dependents must prove that the deceased supported them financially and the amount of support provided. Damages may be allocated as follows:
- Minor children will receive loss of support until the age 18 and for college if proof is provided
- Spouses receive loss of support until the deceased’s retirement age, which is often 65
- Parents and relatives can receive loss of support if proof is provided
Speak to your local attorney to find out your state law with regards to wrongful death claims and survival actions. Contact the Vinson Law Office for free first consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.