To what extent do wounds play a role in understanding the facta and circumstances surrounding wrongful death?
Death itself and the fact that death was wrongfully caused is the primary element of the tort of wrongful death. To establish the tort, one must show a negligent, intentional, or wanton act on behalf of the defendant which caused the death of the victim. Wounds imply the amount of suffering one would incur as a result of the defendants actions. In that instance, a separate cause of action would lie for pain and suffering caused by the defendant's actions. Since the victim could have sued in his own right for pain and suffering, his right to sue would actually survive, in fact it is not uncommon for two actions to be brought in a single lawsuit. One cause of action would be for the pain and suffering caused while one was still alive and a second for the death itself. The age of the victim, possible earnings, services, love and affection lost because of the wrongful death are all elements of damage; however the type of wound inflicted is not a factor. A possible exception might be if the injury was intentionally caused. In that event, punitive damages might be in order.