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Losing a loved one is a tragedy. The loss seems compounded when it was due to another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. Not only does the family face emotional turmoil, but they often face financial hardships as a result of their loss. Wrongful death claims provide surviving family members a means to seek compensation for their losses, but the way a lawyer, insurance company, or court calculates compensation (called “damages”) isn’t necessarily straightforward.

At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., our experienced wrongful death attorneys are here to guide you through the process and work to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

In North Dakota, damages in wrongful death claims can be sorted into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Understanding the difference between these two types of damages is crucial when pursuing a wrongful death claim.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible losses that can easily be quantified and supported by documentation, such as medical bills, pay stubs, and financial records.

  • Medical expenses incurred by the deceased 
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Custodial care 
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income and support
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of employment, business, or employment opportunities
  • Cost of substitute domestic 

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are subjective and intangible. As a result, they can be more difficult to quantify. Compensation for these losses accounts for the psychological and emotional trauma of losing a loved one.

  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and support 
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress 
  • Loss of consortium for the deceased’s spouse

Factors Considered in Calculating Damages

Several factors are taken into account when calculating damages in a wrongful death claim to arrive at a dollar amount that would provide fair compensation for the family’s losses.

  • Age, health, and life expectancy of the deceased – These factors help determine the potential future income the deceased would have earned had they lived.
  • Earning capacity and income at the time of death – The deceased’s current income and future earning potential are considered when calculating lost income and benefits.
  • The deceased’s education, training, and work experience – These factors influence the calculation of the deceased’s earning capacity and potential career advancement.
  • The relationship between the deceased and the surviving family members – The closeness of the relationship and the role the deceased played in the family are considered when determining non-economic damages.
  • The financial dependency of the surviving family members on the deceased – If the surviving family members were financially dependent on the deceased, this would impact the calculation of economic damages.

All of these factors help make certain that the compensation awarded reflects the unique impacts and losses suffered by the family because of their loved one’s untimely demise.

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in North Dakota

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongdoing, it is essential to act quickly to protect your rights. In North Dakota, the statute of limitations allows for the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of the deceased’s death. However, there may be exceptions depending on the circumstances of the case.

When pursuing a wrongful death claim, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side who can guide you through the process and pursue the compensation your family deserves. At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we offer free initial consultations to discuss your case and provide guidance on your next steps.

During this difficult time, let us be your advocates and help you seek justice for your loved one. Contact Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you with your wrongful death claim.

Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. is committed to supporting individuals in North Dakota, including Grand Forks and Minot, as well as the surrounding areas. Our dedicated team is here to provide legal assistance and guidance to those facing the complex challenges that arise from these incidents.