Posted By The Law Offices of Eugene G. Bruno, P.C. Posted in: Wrongful Death.
When a family member dies, people get too overwhelmed by a vast mixture of grief, sadness, despair, and hopelessness. And along with it comes confusion. Confusion over what comes next, what will happen to the surviving family members, and who is going to compensate for their losses.
Luckily, California’s wrongful death law entitles surviving family members to sue a person or business for causing the death of their loved one due to negligence, recklessness, wrongful act, intentional act, or omission to act. As you may know from countless headline-making wrongful death lawsuits in San Diego and elsewhere in California, these cases can be worth hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in compensation, largely due to the deceased’s loss of income and other monetary losses associated with the death of the loved one.
But what happens when the deceased never had a job or was unemployed at the time of death? This is the question we asked our San Diego wrongful death attorney from the Law Offices of Eugene G. Bruno, P.C.
While it is true that wrongful death lawsuits primarily award surviving family members large settlements and verdicts based on the monetary approximation of lost wages because of the death, it does not mean that just because the deceased never had a job or was unemployed he or she has no value whatsoever for wrongful death cases.
Our experienced wrongful death attorney in San Diego explains that even if a person did not provide income, he or she most likely contributed to the family in other, less tangible ways. Even if the decedent spent his or her time at home the vast majority of the time, think of all the comfort, services, moral support, nurturing, and guidance he/she had provided the family with. While it may seem impossible to put a dollar value on it, a skilled lawyer can determine the value of your wrongful death case even if the deceased never held a job or was unemployed at the time of the death.
Not to mention that you still have a right to recover compensation for the pain and suffering the death has caused you and other surviving family members as well as the funeral and burial expenses incurred, and many more damages regardless of whether the deceased had income or job at the time of the death or have ever had income or job.
Still, the largest portion of your wrongful death award will most likely account for the “pecuniary losses.” As our San Diego wrongful death attorney has mentioned earlier, the deceased’s contributions to the family such as services, moral support, comfort, parental guidance, and nurturing are taken into account by California courts when determining the value of your wrongful death settlement or verdict.
These “pecuniary losses” also include lost prospect of inheritance as well as medical and funeral expenses associated with the death. Under California law, determinations of pecuniary losses in a wrongful death action must be fair and just, while the surviving family members are also entitled to recover interest from the date of the deceased’s death.
If the deceased was unemployed at the time of the death, the jury may consider the decedent’s last known earnings. If the deceased had never been employed, no income will be taken into account. However, depending on the decedent’s characteristics, the jury may consider any potential future earnings, which may be compensable in a wrongful death award.
These characteristics include the deceased’s age, employment (if any), education, life expectancy, health condition, prior medical history, intelligence, and many more. Contact the Law Offices of Eugene G. Bruno, P.C. to calculate the value of your wrongful death case. Call our offices at 619.956.9555 or fill out this contact form to get a free case evaluation.