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What damages are available from a fatal car accident?

The worst part of a fatal motor vehicle accident is without doubt the emotional trauma that immediately for the survivors of the deceased following the event. With the passage of time the shock subsides, and at some point those who have lost a loved one because of the negligent or reckless behavior of another driver must come to grips with how they will make do in the future without the economic and personal contributions of that person.

Connecticut law provides one way to help those who have had a family member suddenly torn away from them in the form of a wrongful death action against the person or company that was responsible for their loss. Setting aside for the moment the particulars of how to file and what must be proven to prevail in such a lawsuit, for our purposes here we address the types of money damages that can be recovered after a successful wrongful death claim in court.

Wrongful death damages fall into two broad categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages: The main characteristic of these damages is that they lend themselves to a reasonably certain amount, so they can be calculated by a jury. The two most common forms of economic damages are funeral expenses and lost earning capacity.

Non-economic damages: These forms of damages compensate the surviving relatives for the emotionally-related losses. As such, they are not subject to mathematical calculation, but a jury can allot damages it believes to be reasonable in connection with loss of companionship and consortium, emotional pain and suffering, and the loss of the ability to enjoy life activities.

Each wrongful death case and its damages potential must be examined based on its unique facts and circumstances. While it is impossible to predict what a damages award will be, a personal injury attorney can provide some guidance on the types of money damages that can be sought and how to present evidence to the jury to enable it to properly take both economic and non-economic damages into proper account when reaching its decision. 

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