Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Case
When a person loses their life due to the negligent actions of another company, individual, or entity, the personal representative of their estate may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to help recover compensation. This compensation will go to the estate expenses as well as the survivors of the deceased. Here, we want to discuss what types of damages may be recoverable in a successful Illinois wrongful death case.
Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
One of the most common types of damages available when a wrongful death claim is successful are the economic costs related to the calculable losses associated with injuries and the death as well as the lost financial contributions the victim would have provided had they survived. Some of the most common economic damages associated with these claims include:
- Funeral and burial expenses related to the death
- Medical bills associated with the initial incident and any care that occurred before the death
- The loss of the deceased’s expected lifetime earnings
- Loss of benefits the deceased would have provided, such as medical coverage or pension plans
- The loss of inheritance caused by the death
- A fair value of goods and services the deceased would have provided the household
Non-Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Non-economic damages are less tangible than the economic losses that we mentioned above. These types of losses must be calculated carefully, and they often have more value than the economic damages as they revolve around the following:
- The pain and suffering are mental anguish of the survivors
- The loss of companionship, society, and love the deceased would have provided
- The loss of care, protection, training, nurturing, and guidance the deceased can no longer provide for their family
- The loss of consortium for a deceased spouse or partner
Punitive Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In rare cases, punitive damages are also awarded in a wrongful death claim. These types of damages are not compensable, meaning they are not meant to pay back the family members or the estate for some type of loss. These damages are intended to act as a punishment if the actions of the defendant are especially egregious or intentional. When these damages are awarded, they are also meant to send the signal to others that the type of behavior displayed in this particular case is not acceptable in any way.
Are the Damage Caps for Wrongful Death Claims?
Illinois currently has no limitations on the total amount of compensation that the estate and family members can receive if their wrongful death claim is successful. It is important to work with a skilled wrongful death attorney who can and list assistance from others to adequately calculate the total expected losses and work diligently to recover this compensation through an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury jury verdict.
The total amount of compensation available will vary depending on the facts related to each particular wrongful death claim, and factors such as the age, education, and occupation of the deceased will be taken into account.