Recovering Damages from a Fatal Trucking Accident

Recovering Damages from a Fatal Trucking Accident

Understanding the types of recoverable damages in a fatal California trucking accident case is crucial for victims seeking justice and compensation. These damages are divided into three primary categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Each type plays a vital role in ensuring that the victims are adequately compensated for their losses. The following are the most common types recovered in Fresno truck accident cases:

Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to the quantifiable monetary losses directly resulting from the accident. These damages are intended to cover the tangible costs that the victim or their families incur due to the accident. Common types of economic damages include:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes costs for emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any future medical treatments that were required before the victim passed away.
  • Lost Wages: This encompasses the income the deceased would have earned during their remaining working life. The objective is to offer financial stability and support to the surviving family members who depended on the deceased’s income
  • Property Damage: Reimbursement for the repair or replacement of the victim’s vehicle and any personal property damaged in the accident.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: In fatal trucking accidents, surviving family members may recover costs associated with the victim’s funeral and burial.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more subjective and pertain to the intangible losses that the victim or their family suffers due to the accident. These damages compensate for the broader impacts on quality of life and emotional well-being. Common types of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and Suffering: In recent legislative developments, California has introduced provisions allowing for the recovery of non-economic damages for loss or damages sustained or incurred before the decedent’s death. This specifically includes damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement that the deceased experienced prior to passing away.

Senate Bill 447 (Stat. 2021, ch. 448) amended Code of Civil Procedure section 377.34 to allow a decedent’s personal representative or successor in interest on the decedent’s cause of action to recover damages for loss or damages sustained or incurred before the decedent’s death that include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement.

  • Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium refers to the loss of a family relationship and its benefits due to the death caused by a wrongful act. This may include the loss of companionship, emotional support, affection, and sexual relations.
  • Emotional Distress: Damages awarded for the severe psychological impact on the surviving family members, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from the accident.

Punitive Damages

In the state of California, victims may be entitled to punitive damages under specific conditions. According to California law, punitive damages are awarded in cases where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.

3294. (a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are provided to compensate the surviving family members, punitive damages are awarded to punish the offending party and deter similar conduct in the future.

By understanding these categories of damages, families can better navigate the complexities of a fatal trucking accident case and work towards securing the compensation they deserve.

We understand that no amount of financial compensation can truly mitigate the profound pain and emotional trauma resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one in a truck accident. However, pursuing rightful compensation can provide the necessary financial support to cover unexpected expenses and secure a stable future for your family. If you have been affected by such a tragedy, our experienced Fresno wrongful death attorneys are here to support you through. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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