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2 types of damages you can claim in a wrongful death case

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Wrongful Death

If you lose a loved one due to another person’s negligence, for example, due to an auto accident or a defective product, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. In Washington, this claim can be filed by the decedent’s personal representative. 

If this is your role in the decedent’s estate, you can claim the damages sustained by the beneficiaries listed in the decedent’s estate plan as a result of the death.

These include:

Economic damages

These damages represent the financial losses brought by the injuries, such as:

  • Medical bills – If the decedent received medical care before they died ( which means the death was not instantaneous), the beneficiaries may be compensated for medical expenses incurred, including ambulance costs, treatment, medications, accessories (wheelchairs, crutches and so on), home care and follow-up visits
  • Funeral costs – You can also claim funeral and burial costs in a wrongful death claim
  • Loss of income – If the decedent has dependents, the court may award compensation for lost wages, as someone’s negligent action resulted in the beneficiaries losing financial security. The court will consider several factors, such as the age of the dependents, to determine the amount to award.

Non-economic damages

Economic damages are not the only losses a wrongful death can result in. A decedent’s beneficiaries can also sustain non-economic losses including, pain and suffering, loss of parental guidance, loss of consortium (the absence of a loved one’s presence and emotional support), anxiety, humiliation and so on.

Note that some of these damages may be claimed on behalf of the decedent, such as pain and suffering from the injuries before the death. But this damage may not be recovered if the death was instantaneous.

Losing a loved one because another person acted carelessly can be devastating. Consider legal guidance to protect your loved one’s rights.