Economic recovery never seems adequate in wrongful death cases

In wrongful death cases, the deceased’s life must be quantified into an economic value for compensation. This doesn’t bring the loved one back, but it recovers money for the family to continue.

Wrongful death lawsuits are not like the ones you see on TV, largely because those cases tend to deal with criminal offenses. In addition, nothing in the real world gets wrapped up from start to finish within an hour, minus commercials. In the real world, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal one, and it is a suit that is aimed at recovering compensation for the death of a loved one due to another person or entity,” said Scott Atkinson, a New Mexico personal injury lawyer and wrongful death lawyer with the Atkinson Law Firm, Ltd.

“Just about every state has a wrongful death statute, but their provisions differ, so it’s a good idea to find out from a New Mexico wrongful death lawyer what the statute in your state says,” he said.

“If you lost a loved one due to a homicide or manslaughter, the state (in the guise of the District Attorney) charges the offender and pursues legal action against them. They have complete control of the case. Family members need to file a civil lawsuit for compensation for their loved one’s death and they do so under the auspices of a wrongful death statute,” Atkinson said. Typically, most criminal cases are filed and dealt with first before a civil suit proceeds.

While no amount of money will ever bring back a deceased loved one, filing for compensation will allow the family to be able to continue on with their lives. By focusing on economic recovery, a wrongful death action quantifies the value of the deceased’s live by factoring in things like loss of earnings, loss of inheritance, loss of earning potential, medical and funeral expenses – to name a just a few things.

Trying to calculate what a person’s life is worth is extremely difficult, as there are a number of assumptions that need to go into the final figure. Frankly, most of the economic models don’t come close to capturing the complete value of a loved one’s life. Some of the factors involved include loss of comfort, guidance, emotional support and companionship; things that are just about impossible to quantify. Of course, there is then the risk that they won’t be included in the loss suffered by the survivors.

Ultimately, while economic recovery may come close to approximating what a life is worth, it’s not an optimal solution to a devastating loss. However, the family would at least have some recompense for their loss, to help them to get on with their lives and manage financially after the sudden death of the main breadwinner.

“In order to get a fair and reasonable settlement or verdict in a wrongful death case, you really need the competent assistance of New Mexico wrongful death lawyer who understands the pain and anguish you are trying to deal with as a result of your loss. Having a skilled lawyer on your side is very influential in terms of the outcome of your case,” Atkinson said.

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