Previous posts here have discussed some of the major elements of claims arising out of car accidents. These tend to be personal injury claims for which the victim requests compensation for various consequences of the crash. The most serious injury claim of all is, of course, wrongful death. When someone dies as the result of another party’s negligence, the family would be the ones who may be entitled to compensation. But, what kinds of damages are recoverable in such instances?
The law breaks damages down into a few categories, the main two of which are “economic” and “non-economic” damages. Economic damages are those that deal directly with money and are objectively verifiable. Medical bills, for example, which can be collected and added together to come to a sum total of what was paid out due to the injury, would fall into this category. Another economic damage that may be applicable after a fatal accident is lost wages. Courts can estimate what a person would have earned over the remainder of life, and award an amount to compensate for the loss of those earnings. While the exact amount may be somewhat speculative, this is still a concrete economic loss that can be calculated.
“Non-economic” damages, on the other hand, comprise more emotionally-based, subjective types of loss. In Washington, these might include mental anguish, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Two other possible types of non-economic damage that often apply to cases involving fatalities are loss of companionship and loss of consortium. In these types of damages, the victim’s family seeks compensation for the time and pleasure they will not get from the victim due to death.
As might be imagined, non-economic damages are much harder to prove, and often are a more ripe target for attack by a defendant. For families suffering through the tragic loss of a loved one due to a fatal car accident, getting more information about legal options can be beneficial.
Source: Post Type: Q&A