Losing a family member or loved one is one of the most difficult things to go through in life, especially when the death occurs because of a tragic accident, rather than natural causes. While those who lose a family member due to the wrongful acts of another have the right to pursue a wrongful death case in Connecticut, putting a price on the death of a loved one can be an emotionally tough thing to do. However, here we attempt to make sense of this process.
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a wrongful death claim is brought forth by the executor of a decedent’s estate following a negligent, reckless, or careless act of another, the executor will seek damages for the benefit of the deceased’s estate, which will then be distributed amongst beneficiaries. The types of damages that are available in a wrongful death claim are similar to those that are available in a personal injury claim, although there are some differences. To be sure, damages that are available in a wrongful death suit include:
- All hospital or other medical expenses related to the accident;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- The value of the decedent’s lost wages and loss of earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering of the decedent suffered prior to death;
- The value of the decedent’s loss of ability to enjoy life; and
- Additional damages when the defendant’s conduct was reckless.
Determining the Value of a Lost Loved One’s Life
You may feel that there is no amount of money that can make up for what has happened, nor fully compensate you for the extent of losses that you have suffered because of your loved one’s death. However, it’s important to remember that the damages listed above are designed to provide you a portion of what you deserve, as well as the compensation that you need to continue to provide for yourself financially.
The calculation of economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, is the most straightforward. Economic damages are paid in full, which means that the decedent’s estate has the right to recover 100 percent of economic losses. If your loved one incurred $50,000 in medical bills prior to death, had a funeral that cost $10,000, and will be unable to acquire the $1.5 million in wages they would have otherwise earned but for death, the estate can seek compensation for the full value of these losses.
Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate, as they don’t have a correlating real dollar value. Indeed, how does one decide how much a person’s pain, suffering, or loss of ability to enjoy life is worth?
Juries in wrongful death cases are often instructed to award noneconomic damages based on what seems sensible, fair, and just. Factors that may affect the award include the amount of suffering the decedent endured, the age at time of death, and the loved ones the deceased has left behind.
As noted above, additional damages may be available in certain cases. As found in Section 14.295 of Connecticut Code, double or triple damages may be awarded when a death results from the operation of a motor vehicle with reckless disregard.
Our Attorneys Are Here to Represent You
There is nothing easy about losing a loved one or about making the decision to pursue a wrongful death case. To help you learn more about your options and provide you with the support you’re looking for, contact the Connecticut wrongful death attorneys at the law offices The APEX Law Firm, LLC today. Consultations with our legal team are offered free of charge, and we always work hard to improve your chances of recovering your full compensation amount. Call us directly at (860) 900-0900 now.