Whenever a life is wrongfully taken, there is the potential for a wrongful death lawsuit to find a fair remedy for the losses of the survivors of the individual who was killed. At a cursory glance, the law provides relatively plain guidelines for determining lost projected earnings and other kinds of economic damages, but California also provides for wrongful death claims to seek compensation for much more personal losses. This presents an extremely complex negotiation that can be just as much an exercise in philosophy as arithmetic.
Because of the open-ended nature of the relevant statutes, judges and juries are granted fairly broad power to award damages in a wrongful death case. Because of the innately personal nature of wrongful death claims, the exact same case could receive drastically different judgments depending on the individual hearing the case.
Plaintiffs may legitimately seek monetary remedies for their most personal losses with the full backing of the law. These may include quite broad categories such as "loss of love" and "loss of companionship," or "loss of affection," "loss of moral support," and "loss of protection," among others. These losses speak to the most intimate and personal aspects of every human relationship, making it incredibly difficult to calculate what those aspects of a person's life a worth in dollars and cents.
It should be noted that while there are many aspects of personal loss that may be claimed as non-economic losses, plaintiffs are not allowed to seek economic damages for the pain and suffering of deceased.
These matters are never simple, and should not be undertaken lightly. If you are shouldering the burden of filing a wrongful death claim, there is no reason why you should carry this burden alone. The guidance of an experienced, empathetic attorney can help shepherd you through this difficult time and counsel you in the best ways to seek fair compensation while you heal from your loss.
Source: FindLaw, "What Is Your Wrongful Death Case Worth?," accessed Nov. 04, 2016