What are punitive damages in a Charlottesville, Virginia wrongful death case?
Punitive damages are often misunderstood, as our Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer knows very well. What many surviving family members do not realize when pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit is that punitive damages are rarely assessed. After a review of your case, our wrongful death lawyer can provide guidance as to whether or not punitive damages are appropriate to include in a lawsuit against the party responsible for your loved one’s death.
At MartinWren, P.C., we provide grieving family members a complimentary consultation with our wrongful death lawyer in Charlottesville VA to discuss their intentions about filing a lawsuit. During that meeting, you may gain a clearer understanding of your legal options and if our firm may be able to help you in the process.
What are considered damages?
Damages vary from case to case because they’re based on the circumstances of the victim’s passing. There are rules and standards against which a court will consider a lawsuit’s accounting of damages. And though a wrongful death lawyer may include an itemized list of damages, even if they win the lawsuit, the judge or jury may not award them.
Conversely, they may award financial remuneration that far exceeds the requested amount, though this is very rare. There is a stereotype that a successful wrongful death case will result in the victim’s family receiving millions of dollars. Though this is certainly possible, it is highly unlikely for the majority of cases. Of course, there are exceptions but your wrongful death lawyer can provide you with a realistic expectation.
What types of damages are possible in a wrongful death case?
There are two forms of damages that can be included in a wrongful death lawsuit: compensatory and punitive. After a thorough review of your loved one’s passing, and the circumstances surrounding it, your Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer will have an understanding of what damages to include. Every case is different, but these are possible damages that might be detailed in the lawsuit:
- Compensatory damages. This might include any of the following:
- Hourly wages or salary that the decedent would have earned through their working life with considerations of possible bonuses, vacation pay, medical benefits, inflation, and other factors.
- The medical bills that have accrued and/or were paid and were associated with treatment of the deceased and which were directly related to the actions of the at-fault person who caused their death.
- Costs associated with burial and funeral services for your deceased loved one.
- Loss of companionship. This is a difficult loss for which to assess damages, but our wrongful death lawyer has the experience necessary to navigate challenges such as this.
- Punitive damages. If the defendant acted in a particularly egregious manner, and their actions were directly responsible for the death of your loved one, they might be assessed punitive damages. As an example, if the defendant intentionally and willfully murdered your loved one, your wrongful death lawyer may include substantial punitive damages as a way for your family to punish the defendant and for the court to make an example of them. Though punitive damages are rare, they are often for large sums of money that the defendant is obligated to pay the plaintiff.
If you lost your loved one because of another’s actions, whether they were intentional or due to their negligence, contact MartinWren, P.C. to request a complimentary case review. Our wrongful death lawyer Charlottesville VA clients recommend can answer your questions and provide the guidance your family deserves in order to move forward.