The value of any case is based upon legal liability or the concept that some other party is “at fault” for the accident and this fault caused the resulting injuries. An experienced injury attorney will be able to quickly analyze and explain these concepts based upon the particular factual background of the crash in question. For purposes of this article we will not be considering the issue of liability, however please note it does have a direct bearing on the ultimate value of any injury or death claim. For wrongful death claims, the closest surviving next-of-kin possess the claim for wrongful death compensation. Typically the closest kin will be the spouse, children of the deceased or the parents.
The crash occurred on a Thursday evening, several hours after Drunk Driver had completed his workday. Drunk Driver was operating his personal auto which was covered by only minimum liability insurance. He was being sentenced to prison and had no assets for additional compensation. All looked lost for our clients.
There are two distinct damage aspects to death claims. First, there is the claim possessed by the deceased’s estate. The estate possesses claims for final medical expenses, funeral expenses and conscious pain and suffering associated with the fatal injury, including fear of imminent death or severe injury. Medical and funeral expenses will be readily defined, however an experienced injury attorney will need to analyze and estimate the value of the conscious pain and suffering damages. Secondly, surviving family members (spouse, children or parents) may possess a claim for the loss of society and companionship of their deceased relative as well as any provable loss of financial benefits and support.
The value of society and companionship is based upon the closeness and warmth of the personal relations between the individual family members and the deceased. Similarly, loss of income and support is a function of the survivors expectation of monetary benefits tied to the deceased’s earning capacity. Your injury attorney will be able to estimate the value of your society and companionship loss and calculate the loss of future earnings claim.
Potential financial losses may include economic claims for the loss of your loved one’s future earnings, expected financial support and potential inheritance. These damages may require the assistance of an accountant or economist to analyze, evaluate and calculate the loss. Your attorney will obtain and work with these experts as part of their representation.
As with all insurance claims, the insurance company will require documentation establishing each element of damage being pursued. An experienced injury attorney will be able to help gather and prepare the documentation needed to present your claim for compensation, as well as estimating the value of your lost society and pain and suffering damages.