Damages are the financial costs caused by the at-fault party’s negligence. They can include medical bills, funeral expenses, future medical bills, past medical bills, lost wages in the past, future lost wages, future lost ability to earn, pain and suffering, emotional distress, as well as any loss of consortium for particular family members.
The only person authorized to bring an action on behalf of a deceased person is the executor of the estate. It is someone either agreed to by the family or appointed by the court. Family members normally serve in the capacity of executor, but sometimes families are not in harmony and the court must appoint someone to keep the interest of the estate in the forefront. Now, minor children and spouses have the right to bring wrongful death actions, and sometimes parents of adults can bring actions on behalf of their deceased adult child, for the loss of their companionship.
Experienced Clearwater wrongful death attorneys will know how important the investigation is at the very beginning of the case. They will know what needs to be proven and how to prove it. They will not just give statements from a family member and continue on like it is a regular car accident case. They will dig deeper and make sure they have everything they need to prove the case.
The most common types of damages in a wrongful death action are the loss of ability to earn; loss of consortium, which will include the loss of affection, the loss of personal services, and the loss of that person’s economic ability; and medical bills. Medical bills are very common because many times people do not die at the scene, but may have surgery or spend a week or month in the hospital, and then pass away. All those medical bills need to be covered in a wrongful death claim.
The damages are hard to define in wrongful death case because a lot of them are projections. The way that the lawyer can prove these damages is by using family members’ testimony, any medical bills or funeral expenses incurred, as well as the W-2 and the tax returns of the deceased person to prove and extrapolate what they are going to make in the future. Additionally, the testimony of witnesses who worked with the deceased victim, as well as economic experts who can show projections of income for people with similar jobs and similar degrees of work experience can be used to show what the victim might have potentially made in the future.
Role of Economic Damages
The economic damages in a wrongful death action can include the medical bills for treatment, such as from a ride in the ambulance, or anything like that. If they have any funeral costs, those can be economic damages. If they have any lost wages in the past or lost wages in the future, those can all be economic damages, as can the loss of capacity to earn in the future.
How an Attorney Can Help
An experienced wrongful death attorney is used to working with the experts who deal in future economic damages. They are used to dealing with experts in loss of earning capacity, and they are used to dealing with experts such as accident reconstructionists, to prove exactly how this car accident happened without the testimony of the victim. Therefore to file the strongest claim possible, you need an experienced wrongful death attorney to come on to the case right away.