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What Damages Are Available In A California Wrongful Death Case?


Damages In A California Wrongful Death Case

The death of a loved will always be difficult. It is an event that can bring sadness and many sudden changes for survivors of the deceased. Apart from being a difficult emotional event to deal with, it can also become a significant financial burden in one’s life.

The death of a loved one is so momentous that it can easily force many people into severe financial difficulty. Funeral expenses, medical costs and other out-of-pocket expenses all have the potential to become very costly. And if the deceased was a major source of financial support, the situation will become even more challenging and stressful for surviving family members.

According to this study, the death of a loved one and the associated costs, are one of the most common causes of bankruptcy for American citizens. Fortunately, California wrongful death statutes were enacted to ensure that survivors of a wrongfully deceased person are able to sue and claim compensation for the death.

If you have recently lost a loved one, we understand the enormous challenges you are facing, and we are here to fight on your behalf. The experienced team of compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers will recover all the compensation you are entitled to so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. We will not stop fighting until justice has been served for your loved one.

The compensation you can recover for the death of a loved one is also referred to as damages. There are various types of damages you can recover once you successfully prove that your loved one was killed because of someone’s negligence. These include recovery for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost financial support, and more.

Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to recover several types of damages, which will either cover economic or non-economic losses. You may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendant and make example of the wrongful conduct to deter others.

Damages for economic loss

Economic losses refer to losses that are quantifiable. These are losses that can be calculated in monetary terms. For instance, if you spent $4,000 on burial and funeral expenses, that is a loss that has a tangible value. That is just one example, and there many more recoverable losses you may be entitled to.

It is important to note that these types of expenses must be connected to the wrongful death of your loved one. If you are not sure which expenses you can claim as compensation, a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will be happy to explain what damages you may be entitled to.

Although some states place limits on the amount of compensation you can obtain for economic loss, there are no such limits in California. Obtainable damages for economic loss include:

  • Medical Expenses.
  • The Loss of Household Support.
  • Burial and Funeral Expenses.
  • Loss of Gifts or Benefits.
  • Mortgage Payments and Child Support.

Damages for non-economic loss

Non-economic losses are losses that are not easily quantifiable. It is difficult to objectively assess the value of a non-economic loss, because it is not ordinarily something that is valued in monetary terms. For example, the death of a loved one means the loss of their love, care, and companionship.

While this is clearly a loss, it is difficult to quantify what it is worth in monetary terms. No amount of money will ever replace a loved one.   

The types of compensation you can recover for non-economic losses include:

  • Loss of Love and Companionship.
  • Loss of Moral Support.
  • Loss of Marital Relations by a Spouse.
  • Loss of Training or Guidance (especially with minors).

In California, there is no limit on the amount of general non-economic damages, unless the wrongful death is based on medical malpractice claim. Under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (‘MICRA”), the noneconomic damages are capped at $250,000.

Punitive Damages

The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for a negligent act that caused the wrongful death. Punitive damages are only awarded when the actions of a defendant were intentional, reckless, or malicious. Punitive damages are damages that are awarded in addition to the economic and noneconomic damages.

Contact us to find out how we can help

If you have lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.



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