In addition to the emotional devastation that comes after the unexpected death of a loved one, your family may also be suffering financially. Medical bills, lost income, and funeral expenses can all strain a family's resources, which can make a difficult time even harder.
If you believe another person or entity is responsible for the death of your family member, you could be entitled to compensation for your loss.
What Kind of Damages Could My Family Receive?
A court obviously cannot bring back the victim of a wrongful death. While calculating how much money a family should receive after a tragedy seems cruel and unfeeling, compensating victims financially is the only means a court has to right a wrong. With this in mind, there are several types of damages a court may award the family of the deceased:
Damages for Actual Monetary Loss
These type of damages compensate a family for the actual financial expenses incurred before and after a death. A court will look at the deceased's financial history, including what the victim earned, saved, and how financially dependent the survivors were on the deceased's income. The proper compensation for these financial losses include payments for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
Damages for Future Economic Losses
To calculate future economic losses, a court will consider the deceased's health, earning potential and life expectancy. If the deceased was likely to have lived for several more decades, the amount that that person should earned made will be calculated as a future economic loss. Similarly, additional inheritance money could be calculated for surviving children.
Future economic losses could also include expenses that a family will now have to pay for after their loved ones death. For example, if the deceased provided childcare or assistance with elderly parents, these damages could include the amount a family will have to pay to hire someone to take the victims place.
Damages for Emotional Loss:
Emotional loss is difficult to calculate financially. A court may consider the closeness of the relationship between the deceased and the surviving spouse, children, or parents. Damages can be awarded to compensate the family for their mental anguish, for their loss of companionship and the affection of the deceased, and for the loss of parental guidance to the surviving children.
When a wrongful death comes as the result of a willful act or omission, or as a result of the gross negligence of another person, a court may decide to issue punitive damages. These damages are only available to surviving spouses and children in Texas, not to the parents of the deceased. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and provide an example to others about correcting dangerous behavior.
Experienced Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys
At Stephen, Anderson & Cummings, our results speak for themselves. Our Texas wrongful death attorneys have represented many families just like yours, who need support while dealing with their grief and devastating loss. We know that families are suffering, which is why we offer a free consultation with an attorney who will discuss the merits of your claim.