Loss of Guidance in Wrongful Death
Appellate courts in New York have consistently held that a claim for wrongful death is limited to the economic value of the decedent to each distributee. This rule is straightforward enough when measuring the wages that a decedent would likely have earned had his accidental death never occurred. There is, however, more complexity to the true amount of damages recoverable and a thorough understanding of the law is necessary in order to obtain the maximum recovery. It’s common sense that the loss of a loved one is much more than the loss of financial support and the courts in this state have recognized that a jury can and may place a number on the loss of guidance, companionship, and nurture. While this is relevant to every wrongful death case and the measure of damages can vary widely depending on the nature of the relationship between the decedent and the surviving distributee, it is particularly important in cases where the decedent did not have the means to provide financial support. If for example the decedent was unemployed, how does a distributee prove that they suffered economic harm as a result of the death? They prove it through loss of guidance, loss of companionship, and loss of nurture, which is no easy task. We are well-versed in these claims, having obtained millions on behalf of our clients.