What type of damages can be recovered in a wrongful death action?
St. Paul personal injury attorney Paul Gatto talks about the various damages someone can receive in a wrongful death action.
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When I was a claim adjustor and a very young lawyer, wrongful, death claim settlements were very low, almost shockingly low even to an inexperienced claim representative like myself at the time. And I could never truly understand or wrap my brain around why. Well, thank goodness, the law has changed over time and we’ve become more enlightened as time has gone by and now wrongful death claims and settlements are higher. One of the elements of a wrongful death claim is the loss of the society, companionship, and comfort is the term used in the jury instruction to the family members of the decedent. And when you think about it, that’s huge, so if a person loses a child in a wrongful death case the parent of that child is robbed of that child’s input in their own life for the remainder of their life.
And you know that old expression twice a child once an adult, as we get older we rely upon our children and that’s a huge loss. The same with a child losing a parent that child depends upon that parent for support not only financial but also emotional. That child’s life is going to be shaped by the parent. So these are big cases. These are cases that really need to be looked at very carefully and considered seriously by everybody involved. And I’m very happy that over the years the legal community has done a great job of showing the way and improving the values of these cases.