How are damages determined?
The biggest determination of damages is the financial impact of the wrongful death. This includes things like lost support, medical expenses, and funeral expenses. Generally, laws require that these damages are fair and just compensation. Most of the time the amounts awarded are based on the circumstances of the deceased, such as their current income, health, character, condition, and future earning potential. In cases where the deceased has children, the loss of parental guidance is also involved.
What about adjustments to the jury's award?
Juries typically determine the damages in a wrongful death suit, but theirs is not the final word. Sometimes the court may adjust the awarded damages based on the presence of additional information. If the deceased had poor financial management, this could have an impact on the recovery; likewise, if they were unemployed or low income but had the potential for growth, more damages may be awarded.
What about punitive damages?
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where serious or malicious wrongdoing has occurred. This is meant to punish the defendant. In Illinois, punitive damages are generally not allowed to be recovered in wrongful death cases.
If your loved one has died as a result of someone’s negligence or malicious behavior, you should definitely call an experienced attorney to help you explore whether or not you have a case for wrongful death. You should not have to worry about maintaining finances in the aftermath of your grief. Call me today to learn how I may be able to help you with your situation.