Non-Economic Damages Experienced by Next of Kin From a Wrongful Death
There are essentially two types of damages that family members may be able to collect from a wrongful death suit: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible for the most part; they are damages to which you can assign a specific numerical value. Examples include loss of expected earnings or benefits, as well as medical and funeral expenses incurred because of a loved one’s death.
Non-economic damages are less tangible and can, therefore, be difficult to calculate. However, this does not mean that they are worthless. On the contrary, they often have as much, or more, value than economic damages in a wrongful death suit.
What follows is an overview of some of the most common non-economic damages resulting from a wrongful death.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is a term that can be applied in varied and sometimes confusing ways. It refers to the loss of love and affection from a deceased family member, particularly a spouse. The exact definition of loss of consortium varies by state.
Loss of Parental Guidance
Parents provide much more than financial support to their children. They also give advice, care, nurturing, protection, and training. Children who lose a parent due to the wrongful actions of someone else can no longer receive these benefits from the parent-child relationship. Therefore, they may be able to collect damages for loss of parental guidance.
Even an adult child may receive advice or nurture from parents. Therefore, the child does not necessarily have to be minor to claim loss of parental guidance. However, the adult child and his/her attorney may need to do more to convince a jury that the loss of parental guidance is substantial enough to incur damages.
Pain and Suffering
As it relates to wrongful death, it is important to remember that pain and suffering do not necessarily have to be physical in nature to be compensable. Grief is a powerful emotion that can have a significant influence on one’s life on its own. It can also give rise to symptoms of psychological disorders, such as depression or anxiety. If the decedent’s death occurred in a violent or traumatic way and a family member witnessed it, he or she may suffer posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of a loved one’s death regardless of whether or not he or she was directly involved in the incident that caused it.
An attorney, like a wrongful death law firm in Indianapolis, IN, can evaluate your case and determine whether you are entitled to noneconomic damages in a wrongful death case. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Thank you to the experts at Ward & Ward Law Firm, for their insight into personal injury law.