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What is a wrongful death claim for damages?

When a loved one is wrongfully killed because of the negligence of another party, the loved one's surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim for the damages suffered and to also hold the party liable for the fatal accident. A wrongful death claim for damages is brought on behalf of the lost loved one's estate for the benefit of family members.

Family members who have wrongfully lost their loved one in a fatal accident may unexpectedly face medical expenses, funeral costs and losses of income, services and companionship. As a result, a wrongful death claim for damages may provide compensation for the physical, financial and emotional losses associated with the death of a loved one, including pain and suffering. A variety of considerations are taken into account when determining damages in a wrongful death claim.

The circumstances and characteristics of the victim are considered when determining wrongful death damages. The age of the lost loved one may be taken into account along with the character, condition, health and intelligence, earning capacity and life expectancy of the victim. In addition, the circumstances of the surviving family members are also considered when evaluating damages. Once the negligence of the party that caused the accident has been established, damages can be determined.

While damages will not replace a lost loved one or fully compensate the losses surviving family members have endured, a wrongful death claim for damages is available to help loved ones during a difficult time. As a result, surviving family members of victims should be familiar with the legal options available to protect them when a loved one has been wrongfully killed.

Source: Injury.findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," Accessed April 2, 2017

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