New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

In an Accident Case, are Injuries Worth More When Victim is Dead?

Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Car Accidents

Are New York car accident cases worth more when the victim is dead? Many accident trial attorneys are asked this question. Most clients will usually come and say that they almost died or could have died in the accident. The question that comes up is whether injuries are worth more if the victim has died or when the victim has survived the accident. However, in most cases the value of injuries will be worth more when the victim is still alive.

More Value for Injuries that Affect the Life of the Victim

Accident Case

Compensation is on the higher side usually if the victim is still alive.

There is more likelihood of the value of injuries being more when the victim is still alive. This is actually based on common sense, because if the victim is alive and has ongoing injuries, then those injuries will most probably affect him for the rest of his life, and thus their value would be more. There are chances that the injuries will:

  • Affect the victim’s abilities to perform his daily activities
  • Affect the victim’s capacity to work
  • Affect the victim’s mental capacities
  • Affect the way the victim interacts with his family

All of these things can affect the victim in the future, and if the injuries are serious or permanent, the value of such injuries will be significant, compared to injuries of a victim who has died in the accident.

Why is Value of Injuries Less When the Victim Dies?

In an accident where the victim has died, the court will consider the injuries from the time of the accident, up to the time the victim died. This will be a finite period of affectation for the victim and it is not going to extend into the future. However, the court will also be considering whether the family has suffered pecuniary or financial loss due to the death of the victim.

If the victim was not working at the time of the accident, then that will reduce the value of injuries further. In such a case, the court will only consider the duration from the time the victim was injured, up to his premature death. The value of injuries will be mainly the losses, and the pain and suffering the victim suffered during this period.

When the Victim is Alive the Value of Injuries Go Up

However, when the victim is alive, the court will have to consider:

  • The pain and suffering from the time of accident up time of trial, referred to as past pain and suffering
  • How the victim is going to be affected in future

The compensation will comprise of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages will be based on hard numbers, where the victim has suffered and will suffer in future, financial loss such as medical expenses, loss of income, and so on. Non-economic damages will be the value placed on pain and suffering that the victim has suffered and will suffer in the future.


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