A family member filing a wrongful death suit can often collect for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits, lost inheritance, loss of companionship and care, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. In this guide, readers can click here to learn how damages are determined, and they can learn how a wrongful death attorney in Nassau County, NY can help families obtain just compensation.
How Damages Are Calculated
It may be hard to determine how much a person would have earned had they not died. To make the process easier, the state uses a life expectancy chart intended to determine:
• The victim’s life expectancy
• How much longer the victim would have worked
• How long the person would have been retired
Using life expectancy charges and the person’s earnings at death, the jury or judge can estimate lost earnings and retirement benefits.
Why Is the Damages Award Lower Than the Loss Estimate?
Along with the factors listed above, damages are often hard to determine because of the effects of inflation. For instance, if a victim made $1000 per week at death and they were expected to work for another ten years, the family should receive $520,000 for the lost income. However, due to inflation, $1000 is worth more today than it will be in ten years. Therefore, an award based on future earnings potential would be excessive. Courts reduce damages to their present value to avoid such issues.
Availability of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant, and they are only given in wrongful death actions where a defendant exhibited particularly egregious conduct. Punitive damages might be given in instances where a defendant behaved maliciously, callously or intentionally.
Does a Family Need an Attorney?
If a loved one dies because of another person’s actions, the family should talk to a lawyer right away to learn how they can preserve their legal rights and potential remedies. There is a statute of limitations on filing a claim for wrongful death, and legitimate claims can be denied if a suit is filed even a day late. An attorney with the Law Office of Steven R. Smith can help a family calculate the damages they may receive, and they can explain a case’s merits. Families should hire a wrongful death attorney in Nassau County, NY for help navigating the complex legal process.