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Calculating lost wages for a New York wrongful death lawsuit

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Wrongful Death

The civil courts in New York can help those harmed by others demand justice. Not every scenario in which one party causes harm to another leads to someone’s prosecution or a criminal conviction. A wrongful death lawsuit is sometimes the best option for those grieving a sudden tragedy involving a family member.

New York law allows those who have recently lost a loved one to take legal action in certain circumstances. If an individual or business caused the death of another person through either misconduct or negligence, the surviving dependent family members of the deceased may have the right to take legal action.

A wrongful death lawsuit can compensate dependent family members for the losses generated by someone’s untimely death. In addition to medical expenses, funeral costs and property damage losses from the incident, families may also seek compensation for someone’s lost future earning potential.

Families need to look at the big picture

Some people employ an overly-simplistic approach to the calculation of lost wages. They look at how long someone would have worked until they were eligible to retire and then multiply that by their current salary. There are many issues with using that simple of a calculation.

The first is that many workers secure promotions later in their careers. Those promotions can come with a massive increase in overall wages. Workers also usually receive cost-of-living wage increases annually or every few years even if they don’t pursue career advancement opportunities.

Additionally, families need to consider the current and future value of employment benefits. Employers provide paid leave, insurance coverage and possibly even performance-based bonuses that can significantly augment someone’s base pay rate. Considering current benefits and future eligibility for better benefit packages is important, as is factoring in the possibility of promotions and raises in the future.

Many families find estimating the economic impact of someone’s death to be prohibitively difficult. Thankfully, lawyers can help with that process. Discussing someone’s career and untimely death with a legal team, therefore, can lead to a more reasonable estimate of the financial impact of their untimely passing on their family.