What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Case?
The Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers at Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation handle all manner of wrongful death claims. Attorney David Shoop recently resolved a wrongful death case in Northern California for $3.5 million. The lawyers at the firm discuss, below, the types of damages generally recoverable in wrongful death claims and cases.
In the State of California, there are plain-language jury instructions, often referred to simply as, "CACI" (California Civil Jury Instructions). CACI 3921 discusses at length the types of damages recoverable for the wrongful death of an adult. Generally, if the jury has decided at the end of a trial that the plaintiff has proved his or her case as against the defendant(s) for wrongful death, the jury will next be tasked with a determination as to the amount of money that will serve to reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the death. This monetary compensation is referred to as "damages."
These damages comprise two categories, called "economic damages" and "noneconomic damages." Economic damages include, but are not limited to:
- Financial support that the decedent would have contributed to the family unit either during the life expectancy of the decedent
- The loss of benefits or gifts that the plaintiff could have expected to receive from the decedent
- Funeral and burial expenses
- What is commonly referred to as the "reasonable value of household services" that the decedent would have provided the family.
- Moreover, the award of any future such economic damages are typically reduced to present cash value.
Another item of damages, called non-economic damages, are also recoverable in wrongful death actions. These non-economic damages include, most significantly, the loss of the decedent, family member's love, companionship, comfort, care, protection, affection, society, moral support, training and guidance. Take a minute to consider those words.
Recovering Damages for the Wrongful Death of a Child
The loss of a child is always a tragedy. When these deaths are due to dangerous products that parents believed were safe for their infant, baby, or child, then legal action is called for. While no amount of money can replace the loss of a child, the tragic nature of these cases absolutely demands accountability from the responsible manufacturers.
At Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation, our legal team understands the seriousness of these claims and the need our clients have for justice. We have dedicated our firm to helping those who have been needlessly injured by others—especially by product manufacturers who have put their bottom line before the safety of their consumers.
Products commonly associated with child wrongful death cases include:
- Drop-side cribs
- Sleep positioners
- Baby co-sleepers
- Crib tents
- Crib bumpers
Many of these crib products even claim to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but the fact of the matter is that the FDA has never approved any baby product to reduce the risk of SIDS. While no specific product has been linked to causing SIDS, blankets, pillows, or other designer sleep accessories have been found to only increase the risk of strangulation, suffocation, and other injuries.
Wrongful death cases involving a parent's recovery for the loss of a child are governed in California by CACI 3922. As with an adult wrongful death case, should the jury decide at the end of a trial that the plaintiff has proved his or her case as against the defendant(s) for wrongful death of the minor child, the jury will next be asked to determine the amount of money that will serve to reasonably compensate the plaintiff parent for the death of the child.
The most significant damages, of course, in the wrongful death of a child involve noneconomic damages for loss of the child's love, companionship, comfort, affection and society, to name a few. Here again, jurors are asked to use their best judgment in determining a reasonable amount to compensate for the loss of a loved one based on the evidence and "common sense."