Non-Economic Damages in McKinney Wrongful Death Actions
In addition to quantifiable financial damages related to the loss of a loved one—such as the lost income that their career would have provided—plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim may also pursue recovery for the more intangible, personal aspects of their loss.
Non-economic damages in McKinney wrongful death actions may make up a large portion of an eventual settlement or jury-awarded compensation. Common categories include grief, loss of companionship, and a variety of other factors. For help with recovering damages in a wrongful death claim, contact a compassionate lawyer.
Different Categories of Non-Economic Damages
While the emotional impact of a loved one’s death is difficult to define, much less quantify, the law nonetheless identifies several categories of non-economic damages that a jury may consider awarding to a plaintiff in a wrongful death case.
Grief is a normal process anytime a person loses someone close to them, particularly when the loss is unexpected. Each wrongful death beneficiary had a different relationship with the decedent, and each person’s grief is different in length and intensity. The length and intensity drive the specific damages award.
Loss of Love and Affection
Loss of love and affection is distinct from grief; it is the lack of a normal, affectionate relationship. Although it is hard to measure, it is something very real. In a sense, love and affection is the feeling you get of joy and happiness, knowing that someone loves you and cares for you. Without it, the world can be a pretty lonely and uncaring place. Knowing you are special and wanted is a real benefit. Taking that from someone is, therefore, a recoverable non-economic damage in McKinney wrongful death actions.
Loss of Companionship
Loss of companionship occurs primarily when a spouse is killed and it is the value of having someone with whom to share the ups and downs of life. In especially long-term marriages, someone is in the home when they come home at night; they are not alone and not isolated. That has real value, and as people age, it becomes even more important. For those reasons loss of companionship is an element of recovery available in wrongful death cases.
Loss of Society
Loss of society is not the same as companionship. Loss of society deals more with non-cohabitating familiar relationships. For instance, if a father has been killed, the loss of society is the fact that he is not there when an adult child calls for advice. For some people, that can be significant. It is the loss of emotional support often seen after children or siblings grow up and move away, but are still emotionally supportive of each other.
Loss of Consortium.
Consortium is the loss of the relationship itself. This includes sex, particularly in marital situations, to the society types of things, but, most importantly, the relationship with a person.
How an Attorney Could Help Pursue Non-Economic Damages
An experienced attorney could help a plaintiff explore stories that illustrate their losses and form an idea of how those stories will affect a jury. Some stories are simply deeper and more impactful than others when pursuing non-economic damages in McKinney wrongful death actions. An attorney could take those stories and present them to the jury to display the true nature of the plaintiff’s relationship with the decedent and the basis for compensation.