A wrongful death lawyer is allowed to look at a wide range of potential issues when pursuing a case. Clients deserve to know what might be on the table, and here are five possibilities they can discuss with a wrongful death attorney.
Part of a wrongful death case may essentially be a carryover of the personal injury claim the deceased would have had if they hadn't died. That means the claimant can demand coverage of all bills related to medical care for injuries arising from the incident. If the case involved a lingering period of suffering or even some degree of recovery, that may include long-term expenses like drugs, medical devices, and in-home support.
Note that doctors and medical organizations often have grounds to claim payment from a settlement. This is done through what is called a medical lien. If a health insurance carrier already paid the bills, that organization would place the lien instead. This kind of lien is placed against the claimant or plaintiff in anticipation of a settlement or judgment.
Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Trauma
Another carryover from what would have been an injury claim covers pain, suffering, and emotional trauma that the decedent endured. A wrongful death lawyer may present this based on video evidence, journals, and other forms of documentary evidence that demonstrates how the deceased suffered prior to passing.
Loss of Companionship and Consortium
It's common for a marital partner to file a wrongful death claim. Beyond the deceased's medical bills and suffering, there are additional injuries suffered by a spouse. These are fundamentally the benefits of being married, particularly the loss of your spouse as both a friend and an intimate partner.
The value of the projected future earning potential of the decedent comes into play, too. This is effectively the money they would have earned had they continued to live a normal and uninterrupted life.
Please note that earning potential is almost always based on their skills at the time of death. If they were enrolled in college or a trade school to develop additional skills, those are not included in the wrongful death claim.
Loss of Parenting
The deceased's dependent children will have a claim to the loss of the benefits of parenting. Unless there isn't a surviving spouse, these claims are usually folded into the spouse's claim. Be aware that only dependents have the right to pursue claims. An adult, non-dependent child can't unless they're the closest surviving relative.