Wrongful death cases are filed to recover for the loss that people suffer when they have lost a family member. The loss is focused on the effect to the survivor, not the deceased. If the survivor was financially dependent upon the deceased, that is part of the claim. Also, the grief that people suffer when they lose someone they are truly close to is compensable. With the right facts, it can be a large part of the claim as well.
Wrongful death cases can be very complicated for a variety of reasons. They can be very significant but are easily mishandled. These cases are normally more difficult than typical injury claims because the person who might make the best witness is often the deceased. Many times as well insurance companies will try to argue that if older persons die, their death was inevitable anyway. For young people, we often hear that although they had their whole life ahead of them, there’s no indication as to what they were going to be or achieve and so compensation for their death is just speculative.
That’s why we found that early preparation and hard work are required to prove the true loss that the family has suffered. We often have to spend a considerable period of time with doctors in order to show how and why the defendant is the person responsible for death. We often have to get economists into the case to explain the deep financial loss that has occurred by no longer having this wage and benefit earner in the family and what that loss adds up to over the trajectory of an expected lifetime.
Survival actions are filed to compensate for the injuries suffered and losses felt before the person passed away. The medical bills can be quite large in a case where a person requires a lot of treatment but ultimately succumbs to injuries. It can be difficult to explain to a jury just how much discomfort a person experienced leading up to their death. This is why both expert testimony and testimony from laypersons who knew the decedent is so very important. It’s also why so much preparation work needs to be done at the start of a case.
These are cases that truly get worse with every passing day. Witnesses disappear, memories get hazy, and financial pressures increase. If you’ve had this type of loss in your family, you really need to see a competent trial attorney reasonably soon after the accident.