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Suing for Non-Economic Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Suing for Non-Economic Damages in Wrongful Death ClaimsWhen we lose a loved one, the emotional distress we feel is immeasurable. Knowing that the fatality could have been prevented, or that negligence on the part of someone else facilitated your loved one’s passing, can make that tragedy even more horrific. If you are involved in a wrongful death case, it may provide some comfort to know you can receive financial compensation for the non-economic damages you have suffered.

What are non-economic damages?

Non-economic damages refer to compensation for losses which, despite having a negative effect on the plaintiff’s life, cannot readily be assigned a dollar value.

While every personal injury case will look different, damages can include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship (paid to family members in wrongful death cases)
  • Lower quality of life

Calculating Damages

It may be difficult to calculate or precisely quantify the amount of money necessary to compensate the injured person for damages. Determining damages often involves assigning an exact dollar amount to a subjective injury. Damages such as mental anguish or embarrassment are unique to each plaintiff.  Because of these imprecise factors, damage awards will vary.

In wrongful death cases, family members of the deceased may receive compensatory damages in the form of restitution for any money lost for things such as funeral services, medical care, or economic support they would have received if the victims had survived. They also may receive compensation for grief or loss of companionship.

Certain states cap compensatory damages. However, Pennsylvania does not impose caps on compensatory damages for injury or wrongful death cases, and in fact, such limitations are unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

There are exceptions to lawsuits against Commonwealth parties. Damages arising from the same cause of action shall not exceed $250,000 in favor of any plaintiff or $1,000,000 in the aggregate, which would include loss of companionship. Damages from lawsuits against local agencies (“local parties”), such as school districts, are limited to $500,000, including loss of companionship in wrongful death cases. Absent intentional misconduct and punitive damages in medical malpractice cases are capped at 200 percent of the compensatory damages awarded.

Chester County Wrongful Death Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Victims of Pain and Suffering

At McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, our Chester County wrongful death lawyers bring an individualized level of attention to every case, along with a unique and valuable perspective as former legal counsel for insurance companies. If you have suffered and lost a loved one, complete our online form or call 215-569-8488 to discuss your legal options with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Chester County. Our office is located in Philadelphia and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.