Law Offices of Kennedy and Brown

Dealing With The Traumatic Impact Of A Wrongful Death


Losing a loved one unexpectedly can result in unimaginable emotional turmoil and agony. For the majority of people it can be like they are going through the absolute worst time of their life where they feel like they can’t go on without their loved one. Let it be known that such feelings and emotions following the death of a loved one are normal. In fact, the mental and emotional trauma associated with wrongful death is quite significant. The untimely and sudden death of a loved one often causes emotional distress or a state of emotional anguish and suffering. When a person is killed because of another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct the heirs of the deceased person have the right to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible.

In a wrongful death claim, the family of the deceased who have endured extreme emotional anguish have the right to be compensated for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The following can be cited as examples of compensable emotional distress:

  • Surviving spouse suffering from loneliness, depression, anxiety, PTSD and other such emotions after the loss of a spouse. Losing your significant other carries with it unimaginable pain and suffering which is why a surviving spouse needs to be compensated for their emotional distress. This is often referred to in legal parlance as loss of consortium.
  • Surviving children often experience lifelong emotional pain from growing up without a parent which is why children have the right to collect for loss of guidance and support in a wrongful death claim. They may also be compensated for emotional scarring.
  • In a situation where a child has died due to the neglect or recklessness of another person, the parents are entitled to recover damages for the emotional trauma that they have endured. However, parents of adult children are often denied these damages.

In a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party, emotional distress is commonly referred to as pain and suffering. The heirs or beneficiaries of the deceased have a right to collect damages for the emotional and mental anguish that they endured due to the loss of their loved one. As emotional anguish is classified as a non-economic damage, there isn’t any specific bill that can establish the exact amount of compensation a family should receive for their emotional trauma. However, if the heirs suffer from depression or PTSD, it is advisable for them to seek psychological counseling and the bills associated with such therapy is reimbursed in addition to an overall award for non-economic damages.

It is a fact that insurance companies try their best to settle claims for as little as possible. Oftentimes they don’t want to assign a large dollar amount for non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim. This is one of the main reasons why it is critical to have a qualified and experienced attorney representing you in building a strong case which includes emotional damages in order to help you obtain the maximum compensation possible. While it is true that no amount of money will ever be able to take away the emotional pain of losing a loved one such as a husband, wife, father, mother, son, or daughter, getting the most compensation allows you to get the help you need in order to deal with your emotional trauma. If someone you love has been killed due to the wrongful conduct of another person it is vital that you seek the services of a wrongful death attorney immediately to assist you in the legal process.

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About the Author

I offer personalized legal aid in Forty Fort, PA. I'm specialize in a variety of case areas, including personal injury, slip and fall injuries, workers compensation, auto accidents, dog bite attacks, wrongful death and survival cases, and Social Security disability.

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