Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits By Hardin Ramey on August 11, 2019

Gavel and law booksLegal damages are sought in civil trials as a means of awarding the victims of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the defendant. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the legal damages are intended to hold the other party accountable for the loss of your loved one.

Many people in the Dallas, TX area who’ve lost loved ones contact the Ramey Law Firm, PLLC asking about legal damages and how they work. Attorney Hardin R. Ramey would like to provide a basic overview of the two types of legal damages and how they are calculated.

Types of Legal Damages

There are two kinds of legal damages that are typically sought in wrongful death lawsuits:

  • Compensatory Damages - Compensatory damages are intended to cover various financial and material losses associated with the death of a loved one.
  • Punitive Damages - Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party for the death of a loved one and have no ties to financial losses.

The team at our Dallas law firm can go over these matters in much greater detail during a legal consultation, including how these damages compare to legal settlements. For now, we want to offer a brief breakdown of how compensatory damages and punitive damages are calculated.

How Compensatory Damages Apply to Wrongful Death Cases

In a wrongful death case, compensatory damages will apply to various financial matters related to the loss of a loved one. Let’s say that a loved one was killed in an auto accident with a large tractor-trailer truck. Compensatory damages can cover:

  • Funerary costs
  • Any emergency medical care from the incident received prior to the loss of life
  • Damage to property (in this case the vehicle)
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship

Calculating compensatory damages involves gathering all bills, receipts, and invoices related to the loved one’s death. Future earnings and wages can be estimated and calculated based on the loved one’s recent paychecks or salary.

How Punitive Damages Apply to Wrongful Death Cases

In a wrongful death case, punitive damages will be sought to address the nature of the case and what transpired.

In the fatal truck accident example we used above, let’s say that the trucking company failed to properly service their fleet of trucks and that a brake malfunction was the primary cause of the crash. In these cases, the punitive damages will punish the trucking company for their negligence with regard to vehicle maintenance.

There is no fixed amount when it comes to punitive damages since they are not linked to tangible or financial matters. Similar kinds of cases may be noted to help determine the amount sought in punitive damages.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits

We want to remind those who have lost a loved one that the statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in Texas is two years. If you have lost a loved one due to another person or party’s negligence, we encourage you to speak with someone at our Dallas law firm as soon as possible.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

If you would like to learn more about your legal options after losing a loved one, be sure to contact a skilled wrongful death lawyer. The Ramey Law Firm, PLLC can be reached by phone at (972) 437-5577.

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