broken windshield in a head-on collision

Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Car Accident Case

Car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were about 42,915 car accident fatalities in 2021. Some common examples of car accidents that can result in wrongful death include drunk driving accidents, accidents caused by distracted driving, and auto liability accidents.

If your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident, the losses cannot be understated. No amount of money can fill the void that was left; however, we believe that seeking compensation for your damages may ease some of your financial burdens. Here are some of the damages that you can claim in a wrongful death car accident claim.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are financial losses that have specific dollar amounts associated with them. Examples of economic damages include:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages - If the deceased was the family's primary breadwinner, their earnings loss could be significant. This includes not just their salary at the time, but also future earnings, bonuses, and other compensation.
  • Funeral and burial expenses - It is no secret that funeral expenses can cost an exorbitant amount. Family members of the deceased can claim compensation for any expenses related to the funeral or burial process.

Non-Economic Damages

Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are a bit more challenging to quantify. Attorneys often employ the assistance of economic experts to examine and assign dollar amounts to intangible damages. These types of damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive Damages

In a wrongful death car accident case, punitive damages may be awarded to the decedent's family if it can be proven that the driver who caused the accident acted with gross negligence or recklessness. Punitive damages punish the at-fault driver and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. In some states, there is a cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded, while in others, there is no limit. The state of California does not place a cap on punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Car Accident Attorneys in San Francisco

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn today at (415) 940-7176 to schedule a free consultation.