If you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your losses. These can include out-of-pocket costs like medical care and funeral expenses as well as intangible losses like loss of companionship.
Establishing economic damages requires a skilled lawyer who can present your family’s financial loss using verifiable data and expert witness testimony.
A major component of wrongful death claims are economic damages. These include the family’s losses stemming from the accident and their ongoing financial needs following the incident. Economic damages are typically calculated using hard evidence like invoices, receipts and the victim’s past pay stubs combined with future projected losses. The liable party’s insurance company usually pays for these damages.
Medical expenses, funeral and burial costs and lost wages can all be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit. In some cases, surviving family members may also be entitled to recovery for non-economic damages such as loss of love, companionship, care and support.
Loss of future income
Probably the most difficult component to calculate in a wrongful death case is the value of the deceased victim’s future earning potential. This is determined by consulting with valuation experts who utilize various methods to estimate the value of a person’s anticipated future earnings based on their work history, career progression and education, as well as salary data for different occupations. Various assumptions are also used to account for reasonable raises and bonuses that could have been earned over the decedent’s life expectancy. These calculations are often strenuously challenged by the defense.
Other economic damages may include the cost of household services the victim would have provided such as laundry, cleaning, cooking and child care. In some cases, the surviving spouse of the victim may be eligible to receive compensation for the loss of companionship and love they endured following the accident.
Wrongful death settlements can be taxable depending on how the funds are distributed and whether punitive damages were awarded. It is important to consult a tax professional when reviewing any settlement amount.
Loss of love, companionship, care and support
The value of the close friendships and emotional attachments a victim leaves behind is also a component of a wrongful death claim. The loss of this connection is harder to quantify, but a jury can recognize the impact on the surviving family members.
Pain and suffering
While pain and suffering is a more subjective form of compensation, it is an important element to include in a wrongful death suit. A jury will weigh in on the victim’s physical and mental distress caused by the wrongful act, as well as their grief and anguish over the loss of their loved one.
Wrongful death laws vary by state, but most have their roots in the common law tort of wrongful act. The laws allow a wrongful death action to be filed by the surviving family members of the victim in order to recover compensatory damages. These damages are not intended to replace the victim but rather to provide assistance with coping with their loss. A skilled New York wrongful death lawyer can prepare and file the suit, provide expert testimony and negotiate a fair settlement from the liable party’s insurance company. Contact us today to begin the process. It is important to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. The clock starts ticking as soon as your loved one dies.