Determining Damages



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How Is the Amount of Damages Determined?

Once there is a possibility of a settlement, many people often wonder how the compensation for the damages is determined. It is not a simple process to determine this. Each case is unique, and the amount of damages will differ with each case. When it comes to determining damages in a wrongful death suit, it is just as challenging. Many attorneys look for three things. Those three things are the physical, emotional, and psychological relationship with everyone involved.

Economic Damages

When it comes to economic damages for a wrongful death claim, damages that survivors are entitled to will differ. However, there are some things that are quite common among all economic damages for a wrongful death claim. First, survivors will be able to recoup any medical expenses that the relative may have sustained before his or her death. Funeral expenses are also considered economic damages. Therefore, the survivors would be entitled to recovering money for this as well.

Finally, in many wrongful death claims, the deceased may have additional income from lost wages. These wages would also be recovered. The difficult part of all of this is simply determining what amounts to non-economic damages. However, a good attorney should be able to assist the survivors with this.

Punitive Damages

Many people often wonder if they can recover punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. Similar to many situations, this is dependent upon the state in which they reside. For states that do allow the collection of punitive damages, these damages are referred to as a survival action. This simply means that the survivors will be compensated for any pain and suffering that their loved one endured before his or her death. Once again, the ability to collect punitive damages is dependent upon the state in which the lawsuit is filed.

Statute of Limitations

Another determining factor in how damages are determined is the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations has passed, then damages cannot be determined. The statute of limitation is also dependent upon the state. Some states do not have a statute of limitations while others may have statutes of only a few years.

Medical Expenses

An individual may be entitled to medical expenses that occurred in the past or expenses that are occurring in the present. The goal of the jury is to be fair, but the goal is to also be reasonable. If the jury believes that the plaintiff may incur additional medical expenses in the future, then the jury may decide to award compensation for these future expenses. This may include potential hospitalization, medicine, or nursing needs.

Loss of Earnings

In some cases, an individual is no longer able to work. Therefore, this individual may be awarded for compensation that he is no longer able to earn. Even if an individual is not necessarily employed at the time, the jury can still decide to award him for loss of future earnings. In these types of cases, the jury often takes into consideration the individual’s age and experience.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering does not always mean physical pain. Individuals may also experience mental pain and suffering. With physical pain, the jury will take into account the part of the body that was physically injured. This pain will be considered from the date of the negligence, and the award will go back to that date. In addition to the past pain, the jury will also consider any present pain and future pain. With mental pain and suffering, the jury may award the individual for shock, anxiety, or embarrassment.

There are many things to take into account when trying to determine how damages are determined. This is dependent upon whether the individual died because of negligence or whether he simply suffered from physical and mental pain. If the individual died, then compensation is awarded to the survivors. If the individual survived, then compensation is awarded to the individual; additionally, the individual may be awarded due to the damage caused to his future earnings and career.

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