How Are Damages Determined in Wrongful Death Cases?
Damages in a wrongful death case are going include the costs for a funeral and immediate necessities. Additionally, the kind of injuries the deceased suffered are considered which includes the pain and suffering. Did they actually suffer pain and suffering? A person who is killed instantly in an auto accident would see much different damages for pain and suffering than someone who is injured and spends two months in a hospital in great pain. Therefore, pain and suffering is going to be one of the damages considered.
Other damage considered is loss of consortium, which is the loss of services for the spouse and the children. What is somebody’s economic benefit? Typically when there is a wrongful death case, Phillips & Allen P.C. determine what the victim was earning, and work with experts who determine a figure as to what they would continue to earn over the rest of their life time. Lost future wages are a large element of damages. Overall, the basic large damages include medical bills, loss of wages, your loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
How Long Do Wrongful Death Cases Generally Take To Be Resolved?
Every case takes on its own life. Resolutions of the case are going to depend on a few things. What are the insurance policy limits? For instance, if you have a person who is judgment proof, or in other words a person who cannot pay any amount of damages, you are generally limited to the amount of the insurance policy. If you have lower limits on an insurance policy you can expect that an offer for settlement is going to come a little bit faster than if you have a higher limits insurance policy, it will take longer. However, there is really no rule of thumb.
Some cases are handled very quickly, while others will take a couple of years to go through the system. Generally though you can expect it to take at least a year, sometimes longer, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and the insurance coverage that’s available.
Should Multiple Plaintiffs Hire A Single Attorney Or Should They Each Have Separate Counsel?
When you get into a wrongful death case with several different individuals, there can be several different ways that the damages end up being divided. Phillips & Allen P.C. prefers having all plaintiffs united behind one or two attorneys. That just makes the process move quicker and easier. When you have several beneficiaries with several different attorneys, sometimes the division of damages can be problematic. This can present a conflict of interest and we would only represent multiple plaintiffs when it is absolutely clear that a third party is responsible for all injuries.
In some cases the fact that you have one person or one beneficiary of a wrongful death case trying to hold out for more, can end up taking a case that may have settled and forcing it into court. Not only do we have to determine liability, we have to determine each person’s individual damages which complicate matters. If it goes to a jury trial, the jury could line item for each beneficiary, give a certain amount to the father, a certain amount to the spouse, a certain amount to the mother, and differing amounts to each child based on age and relative dependence on the person. It’s more advantageous if the entire family can get together and agree between themselves rather than making things more difficult along the line.
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