The following damages may be recovered in a wrongful death case in California:
(a) Immediate expenses associated with the wrongful death – these expenses include medical and funeral expenses incurred by the family members of the deceased.
(b) Loss of wrongful death victim’s anticipated earnings in the future until time of retirement or death. The victims employment at the time of incident giving rise to wrongful death, his or her education and earning potential should be evaluated by an expert to determine the future loss of wages and benefits to deceased an the members of his family.
(c) Loss of benefits caused by the victim’s death. This includes pension and retirement benefits, medical insurance and alike. This is particularly applicable if the deceased was making regular contributions through his place of employment or otherwise to a retirement, pension of insurance fund.
(d) Compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish to the survivors. The closeness of the relationships of the deceased to his family members is evaluated and different evidence is considered. Was the victim of wrongful death the only child who left parents without other posterity or are there other siblings who “mitigate” the loss? How often did the victim see and keep in touch with his family? etc.
(e) Loss of care, protection, companionship to the survivors – if the victim took care of his children or elders prior to the incident giving rise to wrongful death claim – their loss of care will also be included in the general recovery of damages in the wrongful death action.
(f) Punitive damages – additional recovery to punish the defendant who caused wrongful death if the incident was caused with ill intent and/or malice.
If you have any questions regarding handling a wrongful death claim in San Francisco and throughout Northern California, feel free to contact us to discuss.