The death of a loved one is a tragedy difficult to endure. This is true whether the loss is that of a parent, a child, or a grandparent.
New York State Law permits an action to be instituted for the Wrongful Death of a near relative, and for that person’s conscious pain and suffering prior to death.
The loss of a loved one or what the law calls “Wrongful Death” may be result of negligence, an accident, or medical malpractice.
Two basic elements of damages in wrongful death cases are compensation for loss, or for death of the loved one, and the conscious pain and suffering including emotional suffering of the person who died.
Included in the damages for wrongful death are the various services that the deceased would have performed for his or her family, for a spouse, and for loved ones. Most important is the amount of earnings that the deceased would have spent in the future for the care and support of those unfortunately left behind.
A wife is entitled to be supported by her husband for the entire span of his work life expectancy. Where a woman is working inside or outside the home the same holds true, so that her spouse would be entitled to the loss sustained.
Of course, children are entitled to be supported by their parents until at least age 21 and these days until education is completed.
The loss of a father or mother to children is invaluable and not only includes the loss or contribution to the support of the children and family, but also and importantly the value of the intellectual, moral, training, guidance, and assistance that the deceased would have given to the children if he or she had lived. Needless to say what a mother or father does for children is beyond value. According to the law, we must assess a value on each of these items.
An additional aspect of an action for wrongful death is the conscious pain and suffering that the deceased suffered between the time of the injury and the time of death. This conscious pain and suffering not only includes physical pain and suffering but emotional pain and suffering as well.
In addition, medical expenses, hospital expenses, nursing expenses, funeral expenses, and all other financial losses connected to the death are compensable.
Establishing these damages including the loss of support, the loss of voluntary assistance, and conscious pain and suffering also takes into accounts the loss of parental nurture, and care that a parent gives. Further the intellectual, moral, physical, guidance and assistance that the parent would give to children is also compensable. Even the love, guidance, and advice that an adult parent gives to adult children is compensable provided the proof of loss is sufficient.
Establishing these varied items of damages requires not only proof of negligence or malpractice in the underlying case, but proof of economic loss. Our firm uses economists, medical specialists, life care planners and nurses to paint a picture of the deceased and the tragic loss sustained.