How To Claim Fatal Injury Compensation

Death of infant—-family reluctant to go to court
A three-year-old baby girl living with her family in a Midwestern town was killed when the car in which she was rid collided with another vehicle at an intersection. Each driver claimed the other was to blame.

The child was riding in the of a neighbor. The father and mother of the child did not want to bring a court action. They didn’t want to do anything to ma their neighbor and friend feel responsible for the accident. The baby girl was a bright, attractive youngster and had every norm prospect of growing up to be an asset to the family. The funeral bill was $750.

The parents consulted a lawyer who was a friend and neighbor’s and asked his advice as to the amount of the settlement. Bot insurance company representatives had been to see the parents. Each offered to contribute 50 per cent, provided a reasonable settlement could be made. The lawyer considered the possibility that the courts of his state had approved verdicts for the death of children of tender age in the amount of $7,500 and $8,500. However, taking into consideration the fact that the parents were reluctant to go into court, he advised that in his judgment the case had a settlement value of from $4,000 to $5,000.

Doubtful liability—verdict unpredictable
The sad case of Farmer Brown’s wife presented a difficult settlement problem. Mrs, Brown, aged forty-two, was killed one rainy night while crossing the village road enroute to a church supper. The driver of the car which struck her claimed she had her head down and walked into the path of his car. Mrs. Brown was survived by her husband and two boys, aged ten and sixteen. She was the mainspring on the farm and worked long hours.

The insurance adjuster admitted to her husband that the death of Mrs. Brown was a real economic loss to the family but said that there was some doubt as to the legal liability of the driver. Finally, after months of negotiation, the adjuster offered his top figure of $12,000—which Mr. Brown rejected. A lawyer was retained. He advised Mr. Brown to accept the offer. But Mr. Brown insisted the case was worth more. The case was sued and tried, resulting in a verdict of $15,000. Interest was added in the amount of $750. The estate of Mrs. Brown paid the lawyer a fee of $5,250 for his hard work of trying and winning the case—leaving a net recovery of $10,500.

Doubtful dependency
Wellman, aged twenty-eight, lived with his two sisters, aged thirty-five and forty-two—schoolteachers. The car in which he was riding overturned and he was killed. The insurance company was willing to settle but the question was: How much? Wellman was employed as a pharmacist in a drugstore and made $6,000 a year. It was difficult to show that he ever contributed much to his sisters. They were self-supporting. So was he.

The sisters claimed that as long as he remained a bachelor, they had a reasonable expectation of financial help from their brother in case of need. The insurance adjuster argued that there was no financial loss beyond the funeral bill of $900 and that the deceased was of marriageable age. At length, to avoid a lawsuit, the death claim was settled for $4,500.

You might collect for decedent’s suffering before his death. In some states the decedent’s suffering in between time of injury and his death is an element of damages. This is commonly referred to by lawyers and insurance men as “conscious pain and suffering.” In many states the estate may collect what the decedent could have collected for personal injuries had he lived. The legal phrase is “the cause of action for personal injuries survives death.”

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