The wrongful death acts in all states provide a statutory cause of action for damages suffered as a result of the decedent’s wrongful death to certain named beneficiaries, usually spouses, children, or parents. This is an independent cause of action belonging to these beneficiaries. Until recently, most jurisdictions used the so-called “pecuniary loss rule” to limit such recovery to the pecuniary loss—the loss of income and wage contributions that the deceased would have made had he or she lived—resulting from the deceased’s death.
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