How is the value of a wrongful death claim determined?

Damages that can be recovered by filing wrongful death claims are split into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are awarded to help families with verifiable financial costs that they have suffered or will suffer because of the death of a loved one. The following economic damages may be recovered by filing a wrongful death claim in California:

  • Funeral and burial costs, including travel and accommodations
  • Lost financial support that the victim would have contributed to the family
  • Gifts or benefits that the family member would have received from the victim
  • Medical costs incurred between the accident and the victim’s death
  • The reasonable value of household services that the victim would have provided

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are generally awarded to compensate families for the physical, emotional, and psychological injuries that they endure because of a family member’s death. Because the monetary value of these damages is difficult to determine, the amount of non-economic damages awarded can vary greatly. The following non-economic damages may be recovered by a filing a wrongful death claim in California:

  • The loss of the victim’s love, companionship, support, care, assistance, protection, affection, and comfort
  • The loss of the victim’s training and guidance
  • The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations with the victim



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