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Types of damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit

Those who lose a loved one because of another person's misconduct or negligent actions may be eligible to pursue compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit. The monetary compensation awarded to plaintiffs who prevail in these types of suits is based on the pecuniary injuries resulting from the decedent's death. Louisiana residents might be interested in reading about several types of these losses and how a court determines them.

Courts generally interpret pecuniary injuries to include funeral and medical expenses as well as losses of inheritance, services and support resulting from the death of the family's loved one. The amount of the financial award must be just and fair, according to the law.

In regards to how the courts determine the measure of the pecuniary losses of the distributees, a number of factors are considered, including the decedent's character, age, condition, earning capacity, intelligence and health, and life expectancy. The courts will also consider the circumstances of the distributees and how they will be affected by the death. For instance, if the decedent was a parent, the award could include loss of parental guidance and loss of income, including possible future earnings. Further, in cases where a housewife was the decedent in a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff may present evidence to show the decedent's value to the family, which can include testimonies offered by economists and other experts who can explain the financial impact the loss of the housewife's services will have on the family.

If a person dies because of someone else's negligent actions, such as in a fatal car accident in which a driver was speeding, texting or intoxicated, the surviving family members might wish to file a claim for compensation. With the help of a personal injury attorney, they may be able to hold the negligent driver liable for their accident-related losses.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," Sept. 20, 2016

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