What Compensation is Available After a Family Member’s Wrongful Death?

November 12, 2013

The mother of a three-year-old recently filed a wrongful death claim after a helicopter crash in Pennsylvania killed the child and three other passengers, including the child’s father. Crystal McKain requested more than $550,000 in damages from Hampton Roads Charter Service, stating the 30-year-old pilot was improperly trained. She claims he was not certified for instrument-only flights and was not briefed on the weather before taking off.

A family member’s death takes an emotional toll on everyone involved, and the loss is often devastating when it could have been prevented. Wrongful death claims can be filed for damages if someone else’s negligence caused the death or the accident that resulted in death. However, there are two types of suits you can bring, and each one warrants different causes of action.

Wrongful death

Wrongful death claims are filed to compensate surviving family members for the financial and emotional losses they suffered by losing a loved one. Damages sought in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Loss of decedent’s income
  • Loss of emotional support and care
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, love and sexual relationship

Survival action

Survival actions are brought by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate to compensate for what the decedent suffered after the accident before their passing. Therefore, this action is brought on behalf of the decedent and collects damages the decedent could have been awarded, had they survived, such as pain and suffering due to injury. The records of first responders and hospital reports are often crucial evidence used to determine how long the decedent survived and remained conscious following the accident.

If your loved one was wrongfully taken from you, our firm of personal injury lawyers can help you file both claims and guide you through the process toward recovery.