Who Can Collect Wrongful Death Damages
When deciding how much damage should be paid and how much should be paid the court will access many different factors and how each of these factors affected the deceased. For example the court will look at the relationship between the surviving family member and the deceased in terms of the amount of net income will be lost, what loss of services will take place, and what the life expectancy was of the deceased. Each surviving family member would be entitled to a different sum depending on all of these factors. For example a 90 year old retired man who was diagnosed with brain cancer and given only 5 months less to live versus that of a 35 year old father of infant twins that just finished his medical doctorate and had just started earning $250,000 per year with future earnings that will grossly surpass that.
In terms of the spouse, he or she can recover on the grounds of loss of companionship and protection They can also sue for mental pain and suffering that was caused from the date of the accident that caused the death.
As for the children, they can sue to seek compensation for lost parental companionship, along with loss of guidance, loss of instruction, and the mental pain and suffering that a spouse would sue for. Of course in this situation we are referring to children that are minors or that are still dependent on their parents.
A parent of a person that was killed in a wrongful death situation can sue for mental pain and suffering.
Any family member or person that was due a financial responsibility from the deceased may also sue on the grounds of loss of support and services. This should also include all future loss and support that would have been provided. In the example above of the 35 year old doctor that was killed, their earning potential going forward could be astronomical and the loss to that person’s family could be devastating. In other cases a court may decide to include punitive damages on the defendant. A punitive damage is one in which the judge “punishes” the party in an attempt to ensure they do not take the same actions again or to discourage others from making doing the same actions.
Wrongful death cases are extremely emotional and complex. It is vital that you hire a West Palm Beach law firm that has experience in dealing these types of cases and can be there for you each step of the way.