Almost anyone who has ever lost a close loved one in an accident will very plainly state that there’s no amount of money they wouldn’t trade to have their loved one back. Nevertheless, wrongful death civil lawsuits that seek monetary compensation serve a very important purpose for the family members left behind. Your loved one was priceless, but you still have to pay many expenses – like funeral and final expense costs, along with the medical bills your deceased loved one racked up in that final accident – and those payments require money.
Additionally, there’s the income that your loved one brought in. Your loved one may have been a primary earner, or even a sole earner, for your family. The loss of his/her loss income may represent a severe and immediate financial crisis for your family. A successful wrongful death case can help you reduce that financial emergency. To make sure that you are getting the total amount of compensation that you and your family deserve, be sure to reach out to an experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney about your case.
Wrongful death cases can be challenging ones for juries because, at some level, they require the jury to take a profound, and in some ways incalculable, loss and convert it to an exact dollar figure. That means that you may face, if you and your family take on a wrongful death case, a defense that argues that, because your loved one earned a modest income, the damages amount of his/her loss should be set at a low number. That was what one Fresno-area widow faced recently in her case, according to the Fresno Bee.
J.F. and his wife, A.Z., worked a booth at a Fresno market and swap meet where they sold auto parts. Reportedly, while the couple was trying to hang the 28-foot banner for their booth, the banner’s metal pole came into contact with power lines. Both received a severe electric shock. The wife suffered serious injuries. The husband was fatally electrocuted.
The wife advanced a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the wife’s attorney, the defense advanced an insidious and offensive argument. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the defense’s argument essentially asserted that, because the dead man and his wife were Spanish-speaking poor people who earned only small incomes from their business selling auto parts, a large damages award was not appropriate.
Low income does not automatically mean low wrongful death damages
The fact that a person did not earn a large income does not necessarily mean that his wrongful death didn’t trigger a large amount of harm that is legally compensable. J.F. was only 36 at the time of his death. Even if he earned a modest $40,000 per year for the rest of his working life, that would amount to well more than $1 million in lost earnings. Although J.F. died immediately from his accident, some accidents result in a prolonged period of survival, which require perhaps weeks or months of extensive medical care, followed by death. In that kind of wrongful death case, the deceased may have racked up thousands or even millions of dollars of medical bills.
On top of those, there is the pain and suffering of the survivors. Just because a deceased man made only a humble income, that does not mean that his widow suffers any less in terms of pain and suffering as compared to the widow of a million-dollar earner who dies due to another’s negligence.
In this Fresno case, the jury recognized that and awarded the widow more than $12 million in damages, according to the Bee.
What you can take from this is that, whether your loved one earned a minimum-wage income or earned millions of dollars per year, his/her loss may have inflicted a massive amount of damages that requires a large award in your family’s civil lawsuit. For sensitive and skillful representation to meet all of your goals in cases like this, contact the experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been providing thoughtful advice and diligent representation for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.