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Understanding How Wrongful Death Damages Are Calculated

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2020 | Wrongful Death

No one should have to go through losing a loved one due to the negligent actions of another person, business, or entity. Unfortunately, these incidents do occur, and grieving family members need to know where to turn. In many cases, those who have lost a loved one are entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. Properly calculating wrongful death compensation can be complicated, and California wrongful death lawyer is typically going to help with this process. Here, we want to review how the various economic and non-economic damages are calculated for wrongful death cases.

Types Of Compensation Available In A California Wrongful Death Case

There may be various types of compensation available to the family members of those who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of others. Here, we will break these expenses down into “economic” and “non-economic” damages.

Economic damages are those that are easier to calculate because there will be fairly concrete “proof” involved. This can include:

  • The expected earnings of the deceased
  • Any potential inheritance
  • Benefits the deceased would have provided (pension plans, medical coverage, etc.)
  • The care, maintenance, support, and other services that the deceased would have provided to family members.
  • Any medical expenses incurred by the deceased before they passed
  • Funeral and burial expenses

To calculate economic expenses, an attorney is going to use various factors that will differ on a case-by-case basis. This includes:

  • The age of the deceased
  • The potential lifetime earning capacity of the deceased
  • The training and education of the deceased
  • The deceased’s health prior to their death
  • The age and circumstances of the deceased’s dependents
  • The value of lost benefits (a pension plan, health insurance, inheritance)
  • Total costs of medical bills and funeral expenses

Non-economic damages in a wrongful death case will include some things that are harder to calculate but are certainly real. This includes:

  • Loss of guidance, advice, nurturing, and protection of the deceased
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the family members
  • Any pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before they died
  • Loss of love, companionship, and comfort provided by the deceased

Properly calculating non-economic damages can be more complicated. In these situations, a “multiplier” may be used in which the total economic expenses are added up and then multiplied by a certain number (ranging from one to five) to arrive at a fair compensation amount. Ultimately, a jury will determine the total amount that should be paid to family members for their loss.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation Of Your Case Today

If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Licata & Yeremenko, A Professional Law Corporation, we have extensive experience handling these cases. We will conduct a full investigation into your case and work to secure full coverage for your loss. When you need a wrongful death attorney in California, you can reach out to us on our website for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 818-783-5757.