Can You Recover Emotional Distress Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?


Did you know that the CDC reports that 52.2 wrongful deaths occur out of every 100,000 deaths?

The loss of a loved one can take an unimaginable toll on the surviving family members. It is difficult for your family to continue experiencing everyday activities. Plus, you likely have a consistent worry of the future and how your family will be financially taken care of can be nearly crushing.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one as a result of wrongful death, you and your family members may be entitled to financial restitution through a wrongful death lawsuit. Working with an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you.

A legal professional will show you what financial restitution you are owed. They’ll also help you to prepare a successful lawsuit against those responsible.

Are you not sure about what emotional distress damages you will be able to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit? We’ve created this quick guide to help you better understand your rights.

Please keep reading to learn how our Fresno lawyers can help you!

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is when an individual experiences pain and suffering that may result in both mental anguish and physical pain. Emotional distress occurs when negative actions are taken by another party.

Mental anguish and emotional distress are often used to describe the suffering that an individual went through as a result of a traumatic loss. When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, emotional distress place a large determining factor in the restitution that you can be owed from the guilty parties.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action taken by the state or surviving members of an individual who died as a result of intentional actions or negligence of another party or individual. Each state will have its own specific rules that govern the legal actions that can be taken as a result of wrongful death.

In the majority of wrongful death lawsuits, a family member will be qualified to register the lawsuit. However, there are some instances where a spokesperson of the deceased will be able to register the lawsuit.

Categories of Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

There are two main categories under which you can file for damage in a wrongful death lawsuit.

First Category

The first category of damages will be used when there is a negligent act that causes the loss of life up until the victim’s death.

For example, if your loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident, the first category would allow you to include the point that the accident happens up until the individual passed away from the injuries that they received. Even if it takes several weeks for your loved one to pass away, the damages you can sue for in this category will include:

  • Physical pain
  • Physical suffering
  • Mental pain
  • Mental suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • The lost wages of the deceased

Second Category

The second category will protect all of the deprivations endured by the family members after your loved one passed away. This category will allow you to sue for compensation for any financial losses that you experience as a result of your family member passing away. Generally, this category will be included in a wrongful death lawsuit to cover the financial support that the deceased’s wages provided.

California does not allow individuals to sue for deprivation of consortium.

How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Court of Law

When you’re looking to seek restitution for emotional distress in your wrongful death lawsuit, you’ll have to be able to prove to the court that you are suffering. Some of the things that you will need to be able to prove include:

  • That the emotional distress experiencing is ongoing
  • The emotional distress that you’re experiencing is significant and life-changing
  • That the loss of your loved one was the direct cause behind the emotional distress are experiencing

Proving that the guilty party is negligent and their actions that resulted in the death of your loved one caused you to develop emotional distress is critical to your case. In most cases, the children and spouse of the deceased are eligible for compensation for emotional distress.

However, it can be challenging to prove emotional distress. This is because there isn’t a standard of measurement to prove emotional pain.

These are several common deciding factors in receiving restitution for emotional distress. These include the:

  • Outlined consequences for the guilty party
  • The amount of financial loss your family suffered
  • The severity of the injuries and death

Recovering Emotional Distress Damages in Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit

It’s devastating when your loved one has died as a result of the negligent actions of another party or person. Getting yourself wrapped up in legal affairs can be emotionally taxing.

Our team of experienced wrongful-death attorneys can take care of all that is needed for your wrongful death lawsuit, allowing your family to focus on recovering from the traumatic loss.

Instead of worrying about a legal battle, we’ll take over your lawsuit to ensure that justice is served and that you and your family receive the financial restitution that you are owed. If you’re looking to learn how our legal team can help you when your wrongful death lawsuit and ensure that emotional distress damages are paid, click here to contact us today.

We offer free consultations and are ready to fight for you!

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