A jury recently awarded $4.7 million dollars in a wrongful death action to the family of a man who was killed while working on a roadway. According to Beaumont Enterprise, the driver of an 18-wheeler struck the convoy vehicle killing the man and injuring four others.
Factors Considered in Wrongful Death Damage Awards
Wrongful death actions can be the result of many situations, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, unsafe work environments or the use of unsafe products. Though no amount of money can fully compensate the loss of a loved one, juries in wrongful death actions have the difficult task in determining what to award those left behind when a family member dies due to another’s wrongdoing or carelessness. As such, juries take many factors into consideration in making that determination. Such factors include the loss of financial support, advice, and counsel from a spouse, parent or child, medical cost, funeral cost, loss of companionship and mental anguish caused by the death of a loved one. Factors such as the decedent’s age and health are also taken into account.
Types of Damages
Typical jury awards focus on what is known as pecuniary damages, which cover financial losses for medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages, lost wage-earning capacity and loss of services. However, juries can also award exemplary or punitive damages in cases where the death was the result of gross negligence or by willful acts or omissions. These damages are meant to serve as a form of punishment and to deter other reckless behavior.
Issues surrounding wrongful death claims are difficult to sort through and often require attention during times when a loved one has recently died. As a result, it is important to discuss your concerns and obtain an answer to your questions with an attorney experienced in handling wrongful death cases.