Wrongful Death and Catastrophic Injuries
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
There are many forms of catastrophic injuries that arise from different traumas. For example, brain injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, spinal fractures, burns, blindness, injuries to nerves in the torso, arms, and shoulders (brachial plexus), and multiple fractures. Regardless of the injury being from an auto or work-related accident, a defective product, or other intentional or negligent causes, the financial and emotional effects to a injured person victim can be huge.
Such injuries may result in a lifetime of medical treatment or continuous life-care support and years of lost income. Such injuries will always result in drastic changes in the lives of the injured person and his or her loved ones. Due to the extensive damages that result from catastrophic injuries, it is especially important that the injured party hire a law firm with expertise and proven successes. These cases are often expensive to pursue - you need a law firm with significant financial resources. Such cases can also be lost or the recoveries can be significantly reduced when left to inexperienced hands. This is why it is imperative to hire experienced injury lawyers.
We are also aware of the difficulties facing the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. Our catastrophic injury lawyers recognize that besides skilled representation, effective representation requires providing caring support and maintaining close personal contact with our seriously injured clients throughout the pendency of their cases.
If you or your loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, please do not hesitate to call Storer & Steen at 208-323-0024 to discuss your case in detail. We provide free phone and in-person consultations. If necessary, we can meet with you in your home. There is never an attorney fee unless we obtain compensation for you.
At the office of Storer & Steen, we only receive a fee if you win your case – so you have nothing to lose. We are at your side every step of the way.
Pursuing All Recovery Sources After a Catastrophic Injury
There are often several sources of recovery for your damages after a catastrophic claim. Pursuing every source of recovery is a necessity when you face staggering health and life-care costs and lengthy lost income. There could be multiple parties who are responsible for some aspect of the injuries. It is always a mistake to assume there is just one source of recovery or one available insurance policy.
In a typical catastrophic injury case, the amount of liability insurance funds available from the primary at-fault defendant are not remotely sufficient to cover all of the medical treatment, lost income, pain, suffering, and disability. Few individual insurance policies alone are sufficient to compensate for the high value of such damages. However, finding every potential defendants can be difficult - especially when they do not want to be found. A defective part in a car, for example, may be partly responsible for an accident. Unless the attorney has the technical knowledge or is willing to invest in hiring the right expert to inspect the defective part, the manufacturer of the defective part may be overlooked as a responsible party. We have the experience and tenacity to find all possible defendants and to ensure all possible sources of recovery re uncovered.
Wrongful Death Claims
A "wrongful death" is when a person dies due to the negligent, careless, intentional, or reckless act of another person or entity. If someone close to you has died as a result of a wrongful act or neglect of another, it is important to find a law firm that understands how to pursue such claims.
Time is important many wrongful death claims. Preservation of evidence and identifying and locating defendants are major factors in many of the underlying accidents resulting in a wrongful death. This requires retaining investigators and experts to start investigations and evaluations as promptly as possible. Hiring an experienced Idaho wrongful death attorney therefore should not be delayed.
If someone close to you died due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior of another party, it is important that you contact a well-established personal injury law firm. You should ensure that the law firm has extensive experience and expertise in prosecuting wrongful death cases and in particular the type of accident that caused the death.
Detailed and accurate preparation of a wrongful death case is necessary to maximize the chances of success. Proving the potentially high worth of a wrongful death case requires a great deal of skill, organization, and experience. Among the many responsibilities and tasks required of attorneys pursuing a wrongful death case include:
Determining whether an estate should be created in a wrongful death case. When numerous claimants are entitled to recover under the wrongful death statute, a thorough evaluation is required to determine whether a probate estate should be created and the claim brought in the name of the estate instead of the individual heirs.
Establishing life expectancy. This requires a sophisticated analysis of the victim's age, health, activities, lifestyle and occupation.
Determining the amount of lost financial support suffered by the heir in a wrongful death case. If the decedent was supporting the heirs financially at the time of death, an economic analysis of the victim's employment history, past wages, and expected future wages is required to determine the amount of economic damages to which the heirs are entitled.
Establishing a monetary value in a wrongful death claim for loss of companionship, society and comfort. By their very nature these are non-economic damages and therefore not quantifiable through formulas or expert testimony. The extent of compensation heirs may recover in these types of damages relies in significant part on the preparation and skill of the claimant's attorneys. Convincing juries of the amount to which the heirs are entitled for such damages must be done skillfully by the attorney's capacity for persuasion and advocacy.
Proving and explaining liability and damages in a wrongful death case to a jury This requires not only talent and skill but the employment of at times numerous experts. As a result these cases are often expensive to prosecute properly.
Idaho Wrongful Death Claimants
Idaho's wrongful death laws (Idaho Code Section 5-311) permit only individuals with a certain relationship to the victim to file a wrongful death claim. Below are the heirs who may file these actions, in descending order of priority:
The victim's surviving spouse, children, stepchildren, dependent minors, parents and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters.
If there are no heirs as described above, then claimants include those who would be entitled to inherit the victim's estate under the law of intestate succession: Parents, whether or not they were dependent; if there are none, then siblings or children of deceased siblings; if there are none, then grandparents; if there are none, then children of a deceased spouse.
If none of these relatives exist, the next of kin may file a wrongful death suit.
A wrongful death victim's personal representative can also maintain a wrongful death action on behalf of the individuals listed above. A personal representative is a person appointed by the probate court to handle the wrongful death victim's assets, or estate. When proceeds are received from the wrongful death suit, they may be distributed by the personal representative according to the wrongful death statute.
Wrongful Death Statistics
Accidental deaths are among the leading causes of fatalities in the United States. Based on National Safety Council statistics, a fatal injury occurs every five minutes. There were approximately 104,500 accidental deaths in the U.S. in 2010. The most frequent causes of accidental deaths are motor vehicle accidents, falls, poisonings, choking, fires and smoke.
Damages In A Wrongful Death Case
The damages recoverable in a wrongful death case differ, to some extent, from the damages recoverable in other types of personal injury cases. A wrongful death case is intended to compensate the plaintiffs for their own losses rather than the losses incurred by the deceased. The plaintiffs are not entitled to certain types of damages normally recoverable in a personal injury claim, such as the wrongful death victim's medical expenses, lost income and property damage. These claims belong to the wrongful death victim's estate and may be recoverable by the personal representative of the victim in a "survival action." While a wrongful death action compensates the heirs for their own losses as a result of the victim's death, the claims in a survival action belonged to the wrongful death victim and passed to the victim's estate upon death.
In some cases, punitive damages are recoverable in a survival action if the victim survived the accident, however briefly, or if the property of the victim was damaged or lost before death. In many cases, the survival action may be joined with the wrongful death claim and litigated at the same time.
Wrongful death laws recognize that certain people suffer their own economic and non-economic losses due to the wrongful death of someone close to them. In Idaho, juries are allowed to award compensation to the heirs asserting the action based upon the following types of economic damages:
The financial support that the wrongful death victim would have contributed to the heir during either the life expectancy of the victim or the heir, whichever is shorter;
The loss of gifts or benefits that the heir would have expected to receive from the victim;
Funeral and burial expenses; and
The reasonable value of the household services that the wrongful death victim would have provided to the heir.
An Idaho jury is also permitted to award the monetary value of certain types of non-economic losses due to a wrongful death. These include:
The loss of the victim's love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and society;
The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations, if applicable; and
The loss of the training and guidance of the victim, if applicable.
For an immediate consultation regarding a wrongful death of someone close to you, please call Storer & Steen at (208) 323-0024 or email us at LawDocStorer@gmail.com. We can meet with you in your home if this is more convenient for you.
Your road to recovery begins when you contact our office - we will protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. If we cannot take your case, we will send you to someone who can.
Hiring an attorney should be easy. We keep it simple and straight forward. You recover from your injuries and we take care of the rest. We cover the costs of preparing your case including obtaining records and expenses for expert witnesses. And there is never an attorney fee until we win your case.
We pride ourselves on being available. We can meet at our office or at your home or hospital. And once you hire us, we are always available to answer questions and explain your case progress.
You can always send us an email directly at: LawDocStorer@gmail.com
Storer & Steen
4850 N. Rosepoint Way, Ste 104
Boise, Idaho 83713