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Legal Blog

Wrongful Death Damages: How Losses are Calculated?

If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation.

Parents, spouses, and children of the deceased may be eligible to recover significant damages in a wrongful death case. In Harris County, wrongful death actions can be brought against one or more defendants, and wrongful death damages can provide the financial relief your family needs right now.

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our Houston wrongful death attorneys understand the devastation caused by the untimely and wrongful death of a loved one. Our compassionate legal team is committed to providing you with strong advocacy and support during this difficult time. With our experience and resources, we will hold any responsible party accountable and help ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.

Call us at (281) 283-8500 today and set up a free, no-risk consultation with our attorneys. We will explain your rights, what you can expect, and how we can recover it.

Wrongful Death Compensation

An individual or family member may bring a wrongful death suit against one or more plaintiffs for actual and/or punitive damages. Actual damages consist of two subcategories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Wrongful Death Damages

Economic damages in Texas cover the loss of:

  • The decedent’s expected earnings
  • Potential inheritance
  • The decedent’s benefits (pension plans, medical coverage)
  • Services and goods the decedent would have provided
  • The decedent’s care, support, maintenance, and other services provided to family members
  • Medical and funeral expenses

Non-Economic Wrongful Death Damages

Non-Economic damages in Texas cover the loss of:

  • Loss of guidance, protection, advice, care, nurturing, and training
  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of love, comfort, and companionship

Punitive Wrongful Death Damages

Punitive damages are to punish the liable party and prevent future similar misconduct. Not every case is eligible for exemplary damages.

However, if the liable party demonstrated recklessness or a very high degree of irresponsibility, the court may award these damages. The quality of these damages in a wrongful death case can be quite significant, depending on the incident and the jurisdiction in which it occurred.

Attorney’s Fees and Interest

In some circumstances, you may recover compensation for your attorney’s fees and interest. This includes al the reasonable fees paid to attorneys during the legal action and any interest beginning from when the damages happened.

How Wrongful Death Damage are Calculated

It is very difficult to place an exact value on a life. Legally, a range of factors is applied to determine a wrongful death value. These factors include:

  • The decedent’s earning capacity
  • Age of the decedent
  • The decedent’s training and education
  • Their health prior to death
  • The circumstances and age of the decedent’s dependents
  • Value of lost benefits (health insurance, pensions)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical bills for the decedent

Courts base damages in a wrongful death case on objective evidence, determined by the expertise of economists, accountants, and/or other qualified witnesses.

Calculating the Deceased’s Lost Earnings

Calculating the amount that the deceased would have contributed to their loved ones’ lives requires the services of a certified economist. This individual will consider various factors like the deceased’s career, education, age, and background to determine how much the deceased would have earned.

Defendants can also offer their own witnesses to dispute this figure. The judge or jurors will ultimately be responsible for determining what figure most accurately represents the future income earned by the deceased.

Other calculations are also be included, beyond simple income and savings. The value of any services or care is also considered. This includes medical care, education, and a homemaker’s housecleaning, child care, cooking, laundry, and other contributions.

Pain, Anguish, and Loss of Companionship

The second major component in calculating the damages in a wrongful death case include anguish, pain, and loss of companionship endured by surviving loved ones. Family members such as a surviving spouse, children, siblings, and parents are often eligible for compensation for their loss too.

A jury will determine what the deceased family member meant to their loved ones. This includes the expenses the decedent’s loved one now incurs as a result of the tragedy.

Contact an Experienced Houston Wrongful Death Attorney

With more than 40 years of experience handling cases involving fatal accidents, we understand your desire for justice in the wake of a tragic loss. Our legal team at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. is here to help and guide you towards a result that provides you some relief.

Call us today at (281) 283-8500, or contact us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.