Since a lot of the damages that family members can claim in a wrongful death lawsuit relate to the income-earning potential of their deceased loved one, a common question encountered by personal injury attorneys relates to unemployed relatives. If your relative didn’t have a job or never held a job at the time of his or her death, is it still possible pursue a wrongful death claim if a negligent party caused his or her untimely death?
The answer to this question is most certainly “yes.” Although it may be true that an individual who dies while earning a high income may provide the basis for higher damages in a wrongful death action, every person in a family contributes to the family in some way. In this respect, surviving close relatives have been irreversibly and tragically harmed as a result of the loss of this person.
Even if your relative did not have a job, it’s likely that he or she contributed to your family in numerous ways. For example, a stay-at-home spouse contributed various household services such as cleaning, laundry, childcare, transportation, home maintenance, yard maintenance, cooking and more to the family. The loss of these services has true value, and it is also a quantifiable and calculable loss.
Then, there are also emotional benefits from the relationships that this person shared with family members. Spouses and others suffer the loss of affection and emotional support. Furthermore, spouses will lose sexual companionship and other spousal benefits.
If you lost your loved one in an accident that a negligent party caused, it doesn’t matter if he or she had a job or not. You may have a legally viable wrongful death action that you can pursue in court.