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What damages are available in a wrongful death case?

One of the most basic principles of the justice system is to make a person whole again after they have been wrongfully injured by someone else. In the civil system, the primary way this principle is accomplished is through an award of compensation, otherwise known as damages. Because an injury or death can drastically alter Pennsylvania residents' lives, there are many different kinds of damages that may be awarded.

For instance, last week this blog discussed how a surviving spouse and other family members may have a wrongful death cause of action they can bring after the loss of a loved one due to someone else's negligence. Different kinds of damages are available in a wrongful death action to compensate the family for the harm they have suffered because of the other person's negligent conduct.

There are often damages awarded for loss of the deceased person's income, loss of companionship and other damages resulting from that person no longer being alive. There are also other special damages that can be awarded by statute. These include damages for reasonable hospital, nursing or medical expenses. The special damages further include medical and funeral expenses that are necessitated because of the negligence.

Ultimately, the kind and amount of damages that are available will vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case. The more expenses and harm that have been suffered, the more damages may be available. Accordingly, it is important that individuals understand all of the damages that may be available in their case and how to prove these damages in the case.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "Chapter 83: Particular Rights and Immunities," accessed on Sept. 24, 2016

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