When survivors of a deceased person seek recompense by filing for wrongful death in court, it is ideally done with the help of a lawyer so that you may be guided accordingly throughout the process. Because liability of the accused party must be proven, many technical legal questions must be resolved before recompense is awarded.
Compensatory damages refer to the recovery or restitution of the amount of money lost upon the victim’s death. The fees covered by the family for the funeral of the decedent falls under these damages, as well as medical expenses.
To calculate compensatory damages, the court factors in several variables, apart from the decedent's income or potential earnings lost. Gainful employment cannot necessarily be an applicable factor across the board, simply because not all victims are employed. When it is applicable, however, the court uses standard actuarial tables to serve as a guide in determining life expectancy of certain groups identifiable by age and gender. Combined with the mental or physical health of the decedent, and even projected inflation, the court can roughly estimate how much the deceased person would have earned over the estimated years of life.
This kind of damage is usually awarded once the defendant is found to have acted recklessly or heinously. This compensation is specifically meant to serve as a monetary punishment for the physical and emotional harm inflicted upon the victim and his or her survivors. Punitive damages are awarded by the jury and are divvied among the survivors in accordance to the extent of each of their losses.
In order to ensure that you will be receiving recompense that is just and befitting of the case you filed, make sure to hire a wrongful death attorney well before establishing your legal strategy.