Many of my blogs about wrongful death cases are related to proving the mental pain and suffering of the survivors. However, there is an additional element of damages that needs to be addressed and can often be the most significant measure of damage of a wrongful death claim: the loss of net accumulations.
When somebody dies prematurely due to the carelessness of another, the deceased person stops earning money. Their estate is entitled to compensation for the amount of money they would have earned minus the amount they likely would have spent. The plaintiff’s attorney presents evidence to prove that the deceased person would have accumulated a large net worth if they had lived a full life, and the amount of that net worth becomes an element of the damages. Of course, in most cases, this requires a lot of speculation.
Children, for example, may not have lived long enough to show a trajectory of how much money they are likely to earn over a lifetime. For that reason, in the case of a death of a minor child with no spouse or lineal descendants (a minor child is under 25 years old according to the wrongful death statute), lost net accumulations are not recoverable. We prove the amount of lost net accumulations through expert testimony. The experts look at the trajectory of the deceased person’s career and spending habits and calculate the amount of damages using case studies and economic tables and formulas.
This is a fascinating area of the law because the estate of an adult child who dies wrongfully is entitled to full compensation for the loss of net accumulations, even if the survivors of the adult child (the parents) were unlikely to survive long enough to inherit the adult child’s estate. Although this seems to provide a potential windfall for the parents of the adult child, it serves the legislative purpose of shifting the burden of wrongful death from the survivors of the decedent to the wrongdoer.
If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The attorney needs to begin immediately gathering evidence to prove not only the case’s underlying facts but also the damages such as loss of net accumulations, loss of support and services, lost companionship, and mental pain and suffering of the survivors.
Wrongful Death Lawyer
Fasig Brooks Law Offices