What Damages Are Available in a Seattle Wrongful Death Case?

After losing somebody you love because of the reckless or negligent acts of another individual, entity, or business, family members and the estate of the deceased individual may be able to recover compensation. In general, the types of compensation available can be defined into two fairly broad categories – economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate for the financial losses that result from the death of a loved one. These damages are quantifiable and can include:

  • Medical expenses. This includes all medical costs incurred as a result of the injury that led to the death. This can encompass hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and any other treatment-related expenses.
  • Funeral and burial expenses. The monetary costs related to the funeral and burial of the deceased can be significant. This category of damages covers these necessary costs.
  • Lost income. The income that the deceased would have earned if they had lived is a major component of economic damages. This includes not only the current lost wages but also the future income that the deceased would have provided for their family.
  • Loss of benefits. This can include the loss of health insurance, retirement benefits, and other benefits that the deceased provided.
  • Property damage. If the wrongful death involved a scenario that caused damage to property, such as a commercial truck accident, the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property can also be included.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more subjective and are designed to compensate for the emotional and intangible losses experienced by the family. These damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering. The emotional/psychological distress and mental anguish suffered by the surviving relatives can be significant. This category seeks to compensate for that emotional pain.
  • Loss of companionship. The loss of a relationship and the companionship of the deceased is immeasurable. This damage compensates family members for the loss of love, companionship, and guidance.
  • Loss of consortium. This pertains to the loss of a spousal relationship, including the loss of intimacy, affection, and support that the deceased provided to their spouse.

What About Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are not typically available in Washington state wrongful death claims. Punitive damages are designed to act as a punishment to the wrongdoer for particularly egregious conduct and to deter similar future behavior. However, Washington law does not generally allow for punitive damages in wrongful death cases. The primary focus is on compensating the family for their economic and non-economic losses.

Moving Forward After a Loss

Losing a loved one is hard, and not something you should have to go through. While no amount of monetary compensation can truly make up for the loss, pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide financial stability and a sense of justice. It can help cover the costs associated with the loss and provide support as you and your family navigate this challenging time.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to seek the advice of a compassionate and experienced Seattle wrongful death attorney. They can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and work to secure the compensation you deserve.