What Are Pecuniary Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?

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The forces exerted on the human body during a serious car accident could cause life-threatening and fatal personal injuries. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the US. In 2018 alone, the California Office of Traffic Safety reported 3,563 car accident fatalities in the state. If you lost someone you loved in an auto accident in California, find out the average types of pecuniary damages awarded in a wrongful death civil claim. Liljegren Law Group is available to help, we have offices in San Diego, Escondido, and Temecula. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

What Are Pecuniary Damages?

Pecuniary damages are the specific, quantifiable compensatory losses in a civil claim; the damages a victim suffered in an accident. In general, you must have proof of pecuniary damages to have grounds to bring a wrongful death or personal injury claim in California. This is one of the elements necessary for a civil cause of action, along with a duty of care, breach of duty and causation for the accident. Pecuniary damages specifically refer to economic losses, such as medical bills. Nonpecuniary damages, on the other hand, or noneconomic losses, include pain and suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish. Both types of damages may be recoverable in a California wrongful death claim.

What Damages Are Available for a Wrongful Death after a Car Crash?

A pecuniary loss during a wrongful death claim can describe any type of economic loss because of the death of a family member. It can refer to the loss of financial support and benefits you experienced because of the death of a breadwinner. It can also refer to the care and household services you would have enjoyed had the defendant not caused your loved one’s wrongful death. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, pecuniary damages could include both your personal losses as well as those of your deceased loved one.

  • The costs of the loved one’s medical bills prior to death
  • Property damages from the fatal car accident
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support and job-related benefits
  • Lost inheritance
  • Lost household services, childcare and maintenance
  • Loss of spousal care, love, support and consortium
  • Your family’s out-of-pocket costs and legal fees
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Surviving loved ones’ mental anguish

While the value of pecuniary losses will be apparent in bills and receipts, a jury will decide the value of most nonpecuniary losses during a wrongful death lawsuit. The value of a nonpecuniary damage award will depend on the specific circumstances, such as the age of the decedent, his or her income, and whether he or she had children. The success with which your lawyer demonstrates the intangible, noneconomic damages connected to your loved one’s death can determine the outcome of the case.

Our Temecula wrongful death lawyers are available to take your call, and answer any additional questions you may have. We offer free case evaluations and will not charge a fee unless we win.

How to Maximize a Wrongful Death Damage Award

Money is often not the only reason a family wishes to file a wrongful death claim. Many families are motivated by the pursuit of justice for the deceased person. Holding a negligent or malicious party accountable for the fatal accident could bring closure to the case to help your family move forward. It could also spark institutional changes in your community to potentially save others’ lives in the future. Financial compensation is one of the driving factors for many families, however, especially when faced with expensive related bills.

Contact a Lawyer

If you wish to maximize the amount a court awards you for the wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident in California, hire a wrongful death lawyer to represent your family. A wrongful death lawyer will understand the civil justice system in your state, as well as be familiar with the circuit court judges. Your lawyer can walk your family through the claims process from start to finish, protecting your rights each step of the way. A lawyer can also use aggressive negotiation tactics to ensure a full and fair result for your wrongful death lawsuit.