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What can you recover in a wrongful death suit?

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, you know how difficult it is to move forward after such a tragedy. If your family was dependent on the victim's income to survive, you may be struggling financially as well as emotionally. Filing a wrongful death suit against the person or persons responsible for your loved one's death may allow you to get some financial support while you grieve.

If you file a successful lawsuit, you will recover damages to cover a myriad of different expenses. Your loved one may have received medical treatment before he passed away. Wrongful death damages can cover those medical bills and treatment costs. Many families plan to have a funeral or memorial service for their loved one. Funeral services can be costly with the burial costs, flowers, casket and other expenses. That is why many courts award wrongful death victims with damages to cover funeral expenses.

In addition to medical expenses and funeral costs, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit may recover damages for loss of support and services. When someone passes away, their contributions to the household also go away. Courts will consider the age, earning capacity, health, life expectancy and other characteristics of the deceased as well as the surviving family's circumstances when determining how much to award in damages. For example, if the deceased was working and had young children, the family may recover damages for loss of income and loss of parental guidance. If the deceased was unemployed, the family may still recover damages based on what the deceased could have earned in the future.

No amount of money can bring back a lost loved one. However, wrongful death damages can help your family get back on their feet after such a devastating loss.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed on Dec. 20, 2016

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