There are no words when you lose a loved one unexpectedly. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, our compassionate Memphis wrongful death lawyer understands that financial compensation is not the gain. Rather, filing a civil claim can help you find closure by holding the responsible party accountable.
How Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim Works
It is important that a family feels comfortable and understands how a wrongful death claim works. Wrongful death cases are complex because they involve criminal law, property law, and civil law. These areas of law intersect in wrongful death cases, and it is important to understand the types of damages you can claim in a wrongful death case.
The more knowledge you have regarding the types of damages you can claim in a wrongful death case, the stronger your wrongful death case will be.
Economic damages are typically quantifiable damages that can be calculated by reviewing medical bills and other documents. These types of damages tend to be more objective rather than subjective.
Property damage, for example, falls under economic damages. The total property damage associated with a case may be ascertained by examining an automobile repair bill.
Economic damages also include lost earnings and diminished earning capacity. Sometimes accident victims lose the ability to perform their job duties. The loss of income this causes can be claimed as economic damages in a wrongful death claim.
Non-economic damages in wrongful death cases concern the pain and suffering the surviving family endured as a result of the death of the decedent. Loss of society, companionship, and support is also often claimed in a wrongful death case. A child may lose her father and claim that the father’s death caused her to suffer a loss of comfort and support she received from her father.
Although the support may be financial, it does not have to be in monetary form. Emotional and psychological support may also be relevant to these types of non-economic damages. However, wrongful death cases are all unique, and the facts and circumstances of every case will dictate which types of damages the injured party should claim.
Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant who commits conduct that is wanton, willful, and malicious. Typically, this type of conduct causes harm to society as a whole. Punitive damages are only awarded in a minority of cases.
Traditionally, punitive damages were intended to punish the defendant for committing egregious conduct. Also, punitive damages were intended to deter the defendant from committing the same harmful conduct in the future. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can help you understand if punitive damages are relevant to your case.
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Calculating the Total Damages in Your Wrongful Death Case
You may have to provide a computation of damages as part of your civil lawsuit. Calculating your total damages may be difficult if you do not have all the documentary evidence relevant to your case. It is possible that you will need to request medical bills and other records if you want to calculate your total damages.
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A Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Calculate Your Total Damages
A wrongful death lawyer can provide you with the expertise and tools you need to calculate your total damages. It can be confusing to attempt to figure out which damages may be relevant to your wrongful death case. Sometimes you may have all the documentary evidence before you but no idea how to synthesize all that data into a basic spreadsheet.
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Proving Your Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
It is essential that you use documentary evidence such as medical bills, pay stubs, and photographs to substantiate your legal claims. When you prove your damages, you are using documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony to set forth a theory of the case. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can provide you with the tools you need to prove your damages.
Opposing counsel will attempt to discredit your attempts to prove your damages. The more evidence you present and the more eyewitness testimony you can procure, the stronger your wrongful death case will be. A skilled attorney can help you synthesize your evidence and present it in a manner that will be beneficial to your case.
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What the Court Considers When Assessing Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
The following are common elements courts consider when assessing damages in a wrongful death case in Tennessee:
- The needs of the decedent’s children
- The decedent’s health before the incident
- Specific details regarding the incident
- The earning capacity of the decedent
- The age of the decedent at the time of the incident
These factors will help the court determine how many years the decedent could have supported their family if they had lived. Also, courts will inquire into the employment history of the decedent as well as the nature of the relationship between the decedent and their offspring.
Both parties may draft motions regarding factual disputes in a wrongful death case. If you are a party in a wrongful death case, it is imperative that you remain committed to your theory of the case. Although defense counsel will attack your arguments, you can remain confident and know that the court will view the facts of the wrongful death case objectively.
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Settlement Negotiations in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death cases are often resolved through settlement agreements. In fact, the majority of civil lawsuits settle before trial. Alternative dispute resolution is one mechanism that promotes the early resolution of civil lawsuits.
Mediation and arbitration are the two primary forms of alternative dispute resolution. The amount of damages you claim will be extremely important during mediation and arbitration. It is imperative that you organize your facts and set forth a clear computation of damages so they can be considered during mediation and arbitration.
Contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC to Schedule a Free Consultation
A skilled attorney at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC can help you with every aspect of your wrongful death case. You may have questions about the types of damages you should claim in a wrongful death case. The facts of the case must be scrutinized to determine the types of damages you should assert in a wrongful death case.
Handling every phase of a wrongful death case by yourself can seem impossible. You may still be grieving over the loss of your loved one. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you seek financial compensation for your injuries.