Wrongful death cases are unique in terms of calculating damages. How can one possibly calculate the economic value of a life?
Economic Damages: From an economic perspective we start by identifying the age, occupation, earnings history, and projected future earnings of the decedent for her anticipated work-life expectancy. We also learn who the decedent was expected to support financially, and for how long.
Non-Economic Damages: Even more challenging is understanding who the decedent was what made her special to her family and community. It’s important for me to develop a bond with family members in order to qualitatively and quantitatively fight for non-economic damages.
The California jury instruction for wrongful death damages identifies recoverable wrongful death damages:
CACI 3921, (https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/3900/3921.html ) Economic Damages consist of loss of financial support, gifts, funeral and burial expenses, and the reasonable value of household services that the decedent would have provided.
Non-Economic damages for wrongful death include the loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, the loss of the decedent’s training and guidance, and the loss of enjoyment of sexual relations.
There is no rule on how much the jury should award.