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Case Successes | Wrongful Death



Petrillo and Goldberg recently had two death cases settle, one for $430,000.00 for a 93 year old grandmother and one for $2.3 million for the death of a single father of one. So, the question inevitably arises, “How does the law value death?”

“There are basically three ways,” said Scott M. Goldberg, Esquire, lead trial counsel for Petrillo & Goldberg. “The first level of value deals with the loss suffered personally by the decedent before they die.” This includes the value of pain, suffering, disability or other damages that a person suffers before they die.

We must ask and consider questions such as “How long did the person suffer before they died” and “What was the compensable value of this suffering before they passed on?” added Goldberg.

Often traumatic death comes quickly and mercifully within moments or even seconds. Accordingly, Petrillo & Goldberg will utilize experts to determine how much conscious pain and suffering occurred before death. “This includes both the length and time and the level or degree of suffering,” said Goldberg

“We continually endeavor to compassionately and zealously fight for the rights of those wrongfully damaged or injured by the negligence or fault of others. This is what we do.”

The second value that the law permits in death cases deals with economic loss to dependents of the decedent resulting from their death.

“This is probably the greatest distinguishing factor in evaluating death cases,” said Goldberg. The law considers how much the decedent would have earned over the rest of his or her life, how much of this income would have been used to benefit dependent family members and what the present value of this economic loss calculates to.

“This second factor in evaluating death cases deals strictly with numbers,” added Goldberg. “So, while we use medical testimony to establish the value of conscious pain and suffering, we use economists to determine the future economic loss to loved ones resulting from a wrongful death case,” explained Goldberg.

The third factor deals with emotional losses stemming from a death claim. “Here we ask the painful question of the value to family members of the loss of the companionship, love, advice, guidance, encouragement and support resulting from their loved one’s death,” said Goldberg. “Basically, the closer the relationship and the stronger the bond, the higher the value,” Goldberg explained.

“We hope that you never need to know any of this information, personally,” concluded Goldberg. “These are some of the most difficult claims to evaluate and explain to grieving family members left behind. However, we continually endeavor to compassionately and zealously fight for the rights of those wrongfully damaged or injured by the negligence or fault of others,” said Goldberg. “This is what we do.”


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The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.