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3 types of compensation people can seek in wrongful death lawsuits

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Wrongful Death |

The idea of taking legal action after someone dies may seem crass at first. The average person does not relish the idea of going to court to demand accountability from an individual or a business. However, the loss of a loved one can be as financially devastating as it is emotionally devastating.

Households may never fully recover from the economic impact of someone’s premature death. Especially when the person who died was the main wage-earner for the household or a stay-at-home parent, the financial impact of their passing could affect the family circumstances for many years to come.

Under West Virginia law, families can sometimes request compensation for the financial impact of someone’s death via a wrongful death lawsuit. The three costs below are often the main contributors to the value of a West Virginia wrongful death compensation award.

Lost wages and benefits

Base wages aren’t the only factor adding to lost wages claims. The earning potential of an individual typically increases over the course of their career. It is necessary to account for promotions and cost-of-living raises, as well as the value of workplace benefits. A wrongful death lawsuit can potentially compensate families for the economic contributions a loved one could have made.

Funeral and medical expenses

A wrongful death lawsuit can help families cover the cost of a funeral or memorial service and burial expenses. Those costs can easily add up to thousands of dollars if someone did not plan and pay for their funeral services before their passing. Oftentimes, there are end-of-life medical care expenses that pass to someone’s estate when they die. Even emergency transportation to a hospital after a deadly crash could saddle a family with massive medical expenses that can be very difficult to cover.

Loss of services and support

People contribute unpaid work to their families. They provide advice and guidance to their children and spouses. They do unpaid work around the home, ranging from meal planning and cooking to childcare and lawn work. Those left behind after each tragedy may have grounds to request compensation for both the loss of someone’s unpaid household work and the loss of their companionship and advice. Factoring in all of the major losses triggered by someone’s passing is crucial to the pursuit of justice in a wrongful death lawsuit. Families have to know how much they stand to lose if they hope to take action in the civil courts.

Calculating the full economic impact of someone’s premature death is a crucial element of any successful wrongful death lawsuit. Those who have help with that process can more easily arrive at a reasonable figure when determining what damages to pursue in a wrongful death lawsuit.