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Wrongful Death Lawyer FAQ: What Damages Are Available?

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  March 6, 2020   |  

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a guest post by our friends at the Washington, D.C.-area personal injury law firm Cohen & Cohen.


Losing a loved one is devastating. However, when death could have been prevented, but was caused by the careless actions of another party, it might be even harder for loved ones to cope with the situation.

If you lost a loved one in any accident that was the fault of another person, damages may be available. No amount of money can undo what happened; however, it may bring a sense of justice. The sooner you consult a wrongful death lawyer, the better as there are strict time limits to pursue legal action.

Who May Have the Right to Pursue Legal Compensation?

All states have different laws that apply to wrongful death cases; however, many are similar. It is advisable to consult a wrongful death lawyer to learn more about the laws that apply to your situation.

The following is a general overview about who may have the right to recover damages:

Wrongful Death - Victims and Their Loved Ones Deserve Justice - Riddle & BrantleyFirst In Line – The first people who typically have the right to seek damages include the surviving spouse, the children, and surviving issue of the deceased children of the descendant. It must be understood that these people cannot file individual claims, but rather, will be able to file jointly. In other words, they will file a single claim and share the damages.

Next In Line – Once the first in line is not applicable, the deceased party’s parents, followed by their brothers and sisters, and after the children of the former deceased. If all of these people are deceased, grandparents and then their descendants may have the right to pursue legal action.

It should be understood that if there are minors involved, and they lived with the deceased and received at least 50 percent support from the deceased at the time of their death, they can typically file a claim. The minor should also have lived with the deceased for at least 6 months prior to the deceased’s death. A wrongful death lawyer can listen to your case and help you know whether or not you can file a claim.

Proving a Case

For a lawyer to recover damages, they must be able to prove the following:

  • Your loved one died because of negligence
  • The negligence was the result of another party
  • As a loved one, you experienced damages from the death

As a lawyer might explain to you, these cases tend to be more complex than personal injury cases which are applicable when the victim survived. There are also usually more emotions involved making it important to choose an aggressive wrongful death law firm. Damages may be available for:

  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of expected earning
  • Loss of benefits
  • Loss of an inheritance
  • Loss of services the victim provided
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of care, guidance, nurturing, and protection
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium

Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer to Learn More About Your Legal Options

If you are the family member of someone who lost their life in an accident, compensation may be available. To ensure you recover the full amount of damages that you need and deserve, please consult with a wrongful death lawyer immediately.


Thanks to our friends from Cohen & Cohen for sharing these insights into wrongful death lawsuits.