Recently, Attorney Harry H. Albritton, Jr., a wrongful death attorney in New Bern, NC with Irons & Irons P.A. worked with Attorney Chris Mauriello of Mauriello Law to secure a $5 million settlement. This case brought a variety of challenges, specifically how there were minimal economic damages to the family. We are providing a closer look at this case to show how economic and non-economic damages play a role in personal injury claims.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim
When an individual is seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, the law allows them to seek compensation or damages from the negligent party. However, in the event that the victim dies of their injuries, the family of the deceased or the executor of their estate can also seek damages.
In a wrongful death case, there are two types of damages that a jury can award the victim’s representative (plaintiff):
- Economic damages: Compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of the deceased’s income.
- Non-economic damages: Compensation for pain and suffering such as loss of companionship.
While punitive damages are also a type of non-economic compensation, this is financial compensation awarded to the plaintiff specifically to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior or negligence.
Settling for Non-Economic Damages in Wrongful Death
In 2021, a 21-year-old college student was killed instantly after a commercial truck went over the median of a two-lane highway and struck her car in a head-on collision. The driver admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel but also stated that he was overworked and requests for time off had been denied by the company.
This highlights how complicated truck accident cases can be in that both the driver and the company can be liable for an accident. Attorneys Albritton and Mauriello thoroughly investigated the records of the company to find multiple instances of overworking their drivers and violating regulations. This showed negligence at a corporate level and could have led to numerous collisions.
Attorneys Albritton and Mauriello valued the case at $5 million and would not settle for less. While there were minimal economic losses to the family as there were no medical bills or loss of income, there were non-economic losses. Pain and suffering due to losing a child as well as punitive damages for a pattern of negligence were both factored into valuing the case. They took their case in front of focus groups to plan for potential outcomes, and each focus group overwhelmingly found the defendants were liable and deserved to pay punitive damages.
On August 13, both parties settled out of court, awarding the family of the victim $5 million and agreeing that both sides would remain anonymous.
Schedule a Consultation with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Morehead City, NC
If you have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence or wrongful act, we are here to help. Reach out to Attorney Harry H. Albritton of Irons & Irons P.A. to discuss your case at (252) 320-7399 or fill out the form below.