Quick Law Group, PLLC

Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

By Matt Quick on May 17, 2019

Statue of lady justiceAfter losing a loved one in a senseless tragedy, it’s crucial that you reach out to the lawyers of Quick Law Group, PLLC. Attorneys Elizabeth M. Quick and Matthew Quick have helped countless people in the Seattle and Bellevue, WA area with wrongful death lawsuits following the loss of a loved one. These civil cases can help surviving family members achieve some amount of closure and the ability to move forward with life.

Damages are an essential part of civil cases. These monetary awards cover various losses and matters associated with the accident or incident that caused a person’s death. There are two kinds of damages:

  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages

Let’s discuss both and how they apply to wrongful death lawsuits.

Compensatory Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Compensatory damages refer to all material losses associated with the death of a loved one. This could include any of the following:

  • Property damage
  • Lost wages of the deceased
  • Medial expenses before death
  • Funerary expenses
  • Emotional pain and suffering

In simple terms, these damages directly compensate a household for the expenses linked to the death of their family member.

Examples of Compensatory Damages

After a fatal car accident, any compensatory damages sought would cover the cost of the damage to the vehicle, emergency medical services at the crash site, the cost of the funeral service, the amount of wages lost as a result of the person’s death, and the cost of therapy and psychological counseling related to grieving and loss.

Calculating Compensatory Damages

When calculating compensatory damages, we can consult bill/receipts and receive estimates from professionals. To calculate and estimate future wages, we can consider salary or earnings each year from a loved one, and also consider the projected cost of living in the Seattle area and what that would mean for later earning potential.

Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are intended to punish a negligent party whose actions caused the death of a loved one. These damages are not linked to actual financial or material losses, but are based on the nature of the case and the circumstances of the loved one’s death.

Keep in mind that punitive damages are not awarded in every case, but they can send an important message to the defendant and other people who act in a similarly negligent or harmful manner.

Examples of Punitive Damages

Using the fatal car accident as an example, let’s posit a scenario in which the vehicle crashed because of design defects with the brakes/braking system. If the automaker was negligent in the design of the brakes on the vehicle, or perhaps did nothing to prevent dangers in the brake design, punitive damages might be awarded.

Calculating Punitive Damages

The amount sought for punitive damages can vary. First our lawyers will note the amount sought in compensatory damages. It will then be important to consider the nature of the case and in what manner the defendant acted negligently. While there may be no technical limit on the amount sought for punitive damages, usually punitive damages will not exceed three to four times the amount sought in compensatory damages.

Speak with Skilled Wrongful Death Lawyers

To learn more about your legal options after the loss of a loved one, we encourage you to contact our team of personal injury and wrongful death attorneys. The team at Quick Law Group, PLLC is here to help. If you live in the Seattle area, you can reach us by phone at (425) 576-8150.

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