When someone's negligence or a defective product results in the loss of a loved one, it can be a difficult and confusing time. You need time to deal with the emotions that arise from an unexpected and avoidable death. As you're grieving through the loss, it's not likely to cross your mind to seek justice for a loved one's wrongful death.
As experienced wrongful death attorneys in Pawleys Island, we've dealt with a number of cases where an innocent person's life could have been saved if someone else would have paid attention or a product worked properly. While you have final arrangements and other legalities to get in order, the first few days following a loved one's death may be critical in determining if a wrongful death lawsuit is applicable.
Pawleys Island Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits differ from other types of legal battles in that you're making a claim on behalf of someone else. Your inherent claim is that a friend or loved one died due to negligence or purposeful malice of someone else's actions.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, there are generally two categories of damages: pecuniary and punitive. The financial damages, or pecuniary, are the financial value of a person's life. The punitive damages are designed to serve as a form of punishment for the defendant.
Damages Recovered From Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Pecuniary damages cover the financial loss of the deceased. These are the damages most commonly awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit and include the financial burden of medical care resulting from the incident and final expenses. Pecuniary damages also include the loss of financial support that can occur when a family member passes, such as loss of spousal support or parental supervision.
Damages sought in a wrongful death lawsuit are calculated based on a number of factors. When you present numbers to the court, you'll also include information related to your deceased loved one's life, like their age, health, work, and other life circumstances prior to death. When necessary, expert witnesses can be brought in during a trial to explain how the pecuniary damages were calculated and why they are deserved.
The financial figures presented can be based on past earnings of the deceased as well as projected earnings for a normal life expectancy. Financial needs are also considered – like if the deceased had children to support.
Punitive damages are considered when the deceased died as a result of egregious harm or malicious wrongdoing. While punitive damages are far less common in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is possible to make the claim.
File Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is not something you want to take on yourself. Losing a partner, child or loved one is emotionally draining. You need a Pawleys Island lawyer who will represent you and your family and fight for the justice you deserve. If your loved one's death was the result of someone else's intentional or unintentional negligence, contact an attorney. A skilled lawyer will review the case and help you make sense of the process and the damages to which you may be entitled. Contact the Hopkins Law Firm to schedule a consultation.