You open the front door, and a Louisville police officer gives you the heartbreaking, life-altering news that on her way home from work, your wife’s car was struck by a drunk driver. She was rushed to the emergency room by helicopter. The paramedics and emergency room staff did everything they could.

She didn’t make it.

  • The officer is so sorry, but you’ll have to come to the morgue to identify the body. The body.
  • Somehow, you make it to the hospital, then back home again, going through the motions of living.

In the upcoming days, you are experiencing the five stages of grief right on schedule. Denial turns inevitably into anger—red, seething, ugly anger. You want to hunt down that drunk driver and take his life, just as he took your wife’s…just as he effectively took yours.

Consider the rational alternative.

Nothing Can Compensate for What You’ve Lost

Calm down and think: Would killing the guy really make you feel any better? Your wife would still be dead. You would lose your freedom, probably spending the rest of your life in jail. And what about the guy’s family—what about those victims?

No amount of money, no depth of the driver’s remorse, nothing will make things right. Somehow, though, that person should pay for what he did. After all, judiciously administered punishment helps children to learn right from wrong; perhaps that driver will learn from his punishment and no one else will ever have to suffer like you are suffering because of his irresponsibility. But let’s focus on the money.

What Will a Wrongful Death Monetary Award Cover?

According to Nolo.com, survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit may be entitled to three kinds of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic damages: This category encompasses all of the financial contributions that the victim would have made to the survivors had he or she lived, as well as expenses incurred because of the death, including:

  • medical and funeral expenses resulting from the death;
  • loss of the victim’s expected income;
  • loss of benefits, such as medical insurance and retirement benefits;
  • loss of inheritance because of the victim’s untimely death; and
  • the value of any material goods or services that the victim would have provided.
  • Non-economic damages: These are less tangible but often more valuable, and include
  • compensation for survivors’ pain and suffering or mental anguish;
  • loss of the care, protection, guidance, advice, training, and nurturing from the victim;
  • loss of love, society, and companionship from the victim; and
  • loss of consortium from a deceased spouse.

Punitive damages: As the term implies, these damages are intended to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are not available in all states for wrongful death lawsuits, and they are not recoverable against some defendants, such as most government agencies. Treble damages—three times the amount of actual damages—are often brought against nursing homes for elder abuse and death.

In addition to these damages, some states will include in the award interest on damages from the time the damages were incurred until the time they are collected. Sometimes survivors can also recover attorney fees and court costs connected with the lawsuit.

If someone you love died due to the action or inaction of someone else, consider filing a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit. Contact the caring wrongful death attorneys in Louisville at Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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