Monroe Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a loved one is heartbreaking. When that death was caused by the careless, reckless, or intentional actions of another party, it is tragic. Wrongful death cases are complex, because the claimants must be able to show the cause of the death, demonstrate negligence or willfulness, and establish the monetary damages caused by the death.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
While no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a family member, there are significant financial issues associated with unexpected deaths. According to any Monroe wrongful death attorney, the surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries, and dependents may be able to recover compensation for a wide range of economic damages including the following:
Pain and suffering prior to the death
Medical bills associated with the accident
Loss of earnings the deceased would have earned in their lifetime
Loss of benefits, including pensions and health insurance
Loss of inheritance
Loss of companionship
Life expectancy influences the value of potential future earnings. The carrier will explore the decedent’s earnings history and future prospects had death not intervened. The younger the decedent, the longer his or her wage earning period remaining at death; however, very young decedents may have developed few work skills and thus have no clear earning level at the time of death. Older people with shorter life expectancies will have typically developed a higher wage rate. Future earnings projections often create one of the more difficult evaluation questions in a wrongful death claim, and carriers are likely to take a much more conservative view than plaintiffs. Proof of future earnings may include testimony from the deceased’s superiors about the likelihood of future promotions, company expansion, industry salary trends, and the like. Trade unions may assist regarding work trends, frequency of hire, and usual earnings. Cases of recent graduates, who have not yet established their careers, may require consultation with vocational specialists who can comment on the marketability of the deceased’s skills. A Monroe wrongful death attorney can explain how your case will be valuated.
An insurance company or self-insured defendant will consider these factors in any claim alleging that the claimant was a dependent of the decedent:
The status of the claimant
Whether the claimed dependency was partial or total
The term of dependency, had death not occurred
Closeness of the claimant’s relationship with the deceased
Cost of the deceased’s maintenance had he or she lived
Generally, the greater the degree of dependency, the higher the evaluation. Adult children tend to be less dependent than minors. The length of the projected dependency is much greater for younger children than those nearing the years when they could be emancipated. Carriers may overlook the heavy expenses for education, transportation, clothing, and other necessities for the older teen.
A surviving spouse may seek indemnity equal to what would have been needed to support him or her in the manner to which he or she had become accustomed during the decedent’s lifetime. He or she may also seek compensation for loss of the deceased’s love and companionship.
Claims by dependent parents are handled on the basis of partial or full dependency limited by the parent’s life expectancy. Nondependent parents are usually evaluated in the same manner as adult children. A parent’s claim will be evaluated more highly where there is a significant loss of society, such as where the deceased child frequently visited the parent, helped with household tasks, and in other ways demonstrated love and devotion. In cases involving parent claims, the plaintiff should be able to demonstrate actual cash remittances by the deceased to the parents, as well as the cash value of services performed, such as the cost of a gardener.
An Monroe wrongful death attorney skilled in handling wrongful death claims will work to establish the closeness of the relationship by gathering greeting card exchanges, photographs of family gatherings, and where necessary, testimonials of friends and neighbors.