Damages in Prince William County Wrongful Death Actions

There are two phases in a wrongful death case: determining liability and assigning damages. Liability is who is at fault and damages are the degree to which an individual’s fault is judged. Damages are typically the degree to which the fault deserves to be compensated. There are a variety of different damages and calculations in a Prince William County wrongful death action. Because these claims are very serious as they have resulted in a person’s death, it is very important to consult a lawyer throughout the process. Only someone with experience and has a thorough understanding of the law will be of service.

Filing for Damages Following Wrongful Death

In any type of wrongful death action, the individual who can file or receive the damages must typically be either the personal representative or the executor of the decedent’s estate in order to have standing in a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions are governed strictly by the Virginia Code, which dictates who may qualify as a personal representative or executor of estate for purpose of having standing.

What Factors into Damage Calculations

Damages can be awarded for several things. Grief, for example, is a type of non-pecuniary damage that can occur in a wrongful death action. Damages for grief are a way of compensating the family that has endured the loss of a loved one for the emotional pain associated with the loss. Generally, this is a non-economic damage, meaning that it is impossible to actually quantify one person’s grief versus another. However, this damage attempts to compensate it in the best way possible. Similar damages for non-economic damages also apply to loss of companionship, loss of society, and loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is especially difficult to quantify because it relates to the decedent’s relationship with his or her family, typically the spouse.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the driver in the calculation of damages in wrongful death action. They are incredibly important; when a case does not have strong economic damages, it typically will not have a strong recovery. Wrongful death actions with strong economic damages may include lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of resources, such as security or insurance policies. There are a variety of vocational and economic experts that specialize in calculating these damages and assist a fact finder in determining them.

Economic damages are not hard to define. The role of an attorney experienced in handling wrongful death actions is to make economic damages understandable and concrete, and show the judge or jury that the only logical outcome of the case is that the damages be awarded in the amount requested. This is done through use of clear, concise evidence as well as expert witnesses.

Ways a Prince William County Attorney can Help

There are certain types of basic evidence that must be laid out in order for damages to be admissible in a Prince William County wrongful death suit. A lawyer can help the beneficiaries understand what must be proven, collect necessary evidence, and assist the fact finder in understanding how the evidence creates damage calculations that they can rely on in assessing a favorable damages calculation.