The Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC handles accident and incidents that result in death. In these cases we deal not only with the value of the death case but the emotional and financial impact on the deceased’s family.
In death cases, the law allows recovery for conscious pain and suffering for the deceased before they actually died. This conscious pain and suffering is proven through people who were with the deceased before they expire and through their medical records. The conscious pain and suffering, if there is any, can be the most valuable part of a death case.
The law also allows the family pecuniary loss. This is money lost as a result of the deceased no longer working. This is calculated by an economist in two ways. One is the actual present value of the deceased’s earning up to their usual retirement age or life expectancy, plus the cost of replacing those activities that the deceased did while alive. (i.e., landscaping, maintaining the home, etc.) The economist then calculates the loss of earnings and loss of replacing the deceased’s activities around the home and gives a present value of the loss. The jury gets to hear these numbers to calculate the pecuniary loss. The law also allows in death cases interest on the jury award that dates back to the date of death. (In New York the interest rate is 9%).
The Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC are presently handling a death case where an elderly woman was being transported from a hospital to a nursing home and the ambulance attendants dropped the person off the stretcher and she landed on her head. The elderly woman was brought back to the hospital and sustained a concussion and fractures of her ribs and arm. Because the woman was elderly and had medical issues, she lasted two months and then died.
Death of the elderly (after retirement) results in less of a lost earning claim. The defense counsel will work diligently to lower what they feel the deceased is owed. One way they try to decrease the lost earning claim is to use the life expectancy charts, but many times the deceased client has already out-lived the charts. Next, the defense counsel will use the deceased client’s medical history to indicate the victim’s prior health condition lead to a shorter life span (cancer, diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse, or obesity).
The remaining spouse also has a loss earnings claim to the extent the spouse will lose the deceased Social Security up to the life expectancy of the victim.
In the death cases of victims who were earning high salaries or young victims who are working and supporting a family, the pecuniary loss to the spouse and children can run into the millions and can be the greatest part of the value of the case. The main proof presented to the jury of the family of the young deceased wage earner, comes from an economist. The economist expert tells the jury the way the earnings loss is calculated and gives the jury the total loss and then reduces it to present value (as if the family received all of the money up front). That number is significant, and is used by the jury as a separate monetary future earnings portion of the verdict. This number is then added to the pain and suffering of the deceased, the loss of emotional support for the spouse, and the wrongful death to come up with a complete verdict amount.
In death cases from an automobile accident, no-fault pays for all medical bills and allows a death benefit of $2,000 which is automatic and not made part of the lawsuit for conscious pain and suffering.
If a family member has died in any kind of accident or incident, contact the Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC. We can help you and your family to recover for emotional and financial support as well as significant recovery for the deceased family.