A wrongful death is a death that is caused as a result of the negligence of another. Damages in wrongful death cases in the State of New York are restricted to conscious pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death and economic loss to the heirs or distributes of the deceased. Obviously, cases involving significant and substantial conscious pain and suffering and/or significant economic loss to the heirs and distributes are worth significantly more than situations with minimal pain and suffering and minimal economic loss.
In Suffolk County case, Martin J. Weiser recovered a jury verdict in a wrongful death case of one million dollars for pain and suffering where the decedent suffered only one hour before his death. The same jury awarded the decedent’s wife an additional 1.2 million dollars for past and future economic loss.
In a wrongful death case in Kings County resulting from a motor vehicle accident it was virtually impossible to prove any pain and suffering, as the decedent died instantly after being struck by the defendant’s motor vehicle. Nevertheless, the estate received a settlement of 1.3 million dollars for economic loss by retaining an economist who analyzed the children’s loss of parental guidance and services in economic terms. The decedent was 70 years of age and retired at the time of his death.
Wrongful death cases can result from any type of negligence such as automobile accidents, slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice, product liability and breach of security. Proof of damages in a wrongful death case often requires reliance on the testimony of an economist to project the economic loss to the decedent’s estate in the past and future.
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