When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a family member, the damages awarded by the court are based on certain criteria. These criteria include loss of support that the survivors received from the deceased family member, loss of prospective inheritance and expenses incurred for medical treatment prior to death, as well as the costs associated with conducting a burial. In the words of the court of law, the compensation awarded for these losses are known as pecuniary damages.
In order to determine the pecuniary losses, courts consider several factors, such as the victim’s age, the victim’s character and condition, earning capacity (both present and future), health and intelligence and also the financial circumstances of the survivors who have filed the wrongful death claim. Although the determination process may seem straightforward, the fact is that measuring the extent of damages in financial terms is often a challenging task, both for the plaintiffs and for the juries.
In wrongful death lawsuits, judges and juries often seek expert testimony before they make a decision regarding the amount of damages that they will eventually award to the plaintiffs. These testimonies are crucial because the judge or the jury may not be aware of certain technical aspects of the extent of an injury or the extent of a loss that the plaintiffs may have suffered unless the extent of the pecuniary losses arising from the victim’s death is backed by the opinion of an expert from a relevant domain.
As mentioned earlier, establishing the extent of pecuniary losses in a wrongful death claim is difficult for the plaintiffs to establish in court, more so because those plaintiffs are already going through an emotional turmoil. Considering these factors, families of victims who wish to pursue a claim over the death of their loved one may choose to seek legal guidance from a professional. The professional will not only guide them through the basics but will also help them get expert testimony whenever it becomes necessary.