3 factors that influence the value of a wrongful death lawsuit

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2023 | Personal Injury

State law in Hawaii allows those affected by a sudden and unexpected death caused by another to take legal action. A wrongful death lawsuit can compensate the close family members who have lost a loved one because of an outside party’s actions or failures.

The party responsible for the death could be either an individual, a business or another entity. Each lawsuit is subject to unique circumstances and, therefore, inherently unique outcomes. With that said, the following factors can help to determine the financial value of a wrongful death lawsuit in Hawaii.

Someone’s age

The age of the person who died unexpectedly will directly influence the value of the lawsuit brought by their loved ones. The more years of gainful economic activity someone likely had ahead of them when they died, the more compensation their surviving dependents may be able to claim in the form of lost wages and benefits through employment. Younger people tend to have more earning potential ahead of them, while older adults tend to command more compensation overall. The age of the person who died unexpectedly will therefore have a major influence on the outcome of the claim.

Someone’s unpaid labor

The household support services provided by the deceased individual could be worth quite a bit of money and will directly impact the family’s standard of living. Childcare services, house cleaning and cooking are all valuable unpaid services that could cost thousands of dollars a month if a family needs to hire a professional to take over someone’s responsibilities. Creating a comprehensive list of the unpaid services someone provides to a household will be an important step when preparing for a wrongful death lawsuit. Services provided and other non-economic losses, like the loss of someone’s love and guidance, can directly influence the value of a wrongful death lawsuit.

The details of the tragedy

Plaintiffs pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in Hawaii can sometimes benefit from a punitive damages award. Punitive damages are usually only available in cases involving particularly egregious negligence or overt lawbreaking on the part of the party who caused the death. The more negligence or malicious one party was, the greater the likelihood that the civil courts in Hawaii would agree that the situation warrants an award of punitive damages.

Understanding the rules that determine the value of a wrongful death lawsuit may help families take truly informed steps about their legal options when someone passes unexpectedly.