Wrongful Death

If an adult has been killed as a result of the fault of others the Estate and the family of the deceased adult are entitled to recover the following damages:

  1. Reasonable costs of medical bills from the date of injury until the date of death.
  2. Reasonable value of lost wages from the date of injury until the date of death.
  3. Physical and mental pain and suffering from the date of injury until the date of death.
  4. The decedent’s loss of function of the mind and body from the date of injury until the date of death.
  5. The present value of the additional amounts the decedent would reasonably have been expected to have accumulated as a result of his own efforts if he had lived out the term of his natural life.
  6. Burial expenses.
  7. Loss of financial support to spouse.
  8. Loss of financial support to children. Under Iowa law the financial support for children generally ends at 18 unless the child has a special need to be supported beyond age 18.
  9. Loss of spousal consortium. Under Iowa law this includes both the loss of spousal affection, and the loss of practical services such as cooking meals and cutting the grass.
  10. Loss of consortium by children.

Under Iowa law the following factors are considered in trying to assess the amount to be awarded for the categories described above:

  • The Decedent’s age and life expectancy at the time of their death.
  • The Decedent’s ability to earn money.
  • The amount of taxes that would have to be paid out of earnings.
  • The Decedent’s history relating to frugalness and hard work.
  • The uncertainties of life such as changes in health or employment or earning capacity.
  • The Decedent’s health, strengths, character, skill and training.
  • The Decedent’s history of employment and earnings.
  • The Decedent’s future earning potential.
  • The Decedent’s abilities in performing duties as a spouse and parent.
Wrongful Death Damages For A Minor

If a minor has been killed as the result of the fault of others, the Estate and family of the deceased minor is entitled to recover the following damages:

  1. Loss to the estate. Under Iowa law this means the present value of additional amounts the minor would reasonably be expected to have accumulated as a result of his own efforts from the time they reached age 18 until the end of their life expectancy.
  2. Medical expenses from the date of injury until the date of death.
  3. The parents’ loss of companionship and society.
  4. Burial expenses.

Under Iowa law the following factors are considered in trying to assess the amount to be awarded for the categories described above:

  • The minor’s life expectancy.
  • The minor’s health, physical and mental condition.
  • The minor’s habits as to frugalness and hard work.
  • The minor’s interest in school.
  • The minor’s grades and attendance in school.
  • The occupation of the minor’s parents.
  • The uncertainties of life such as changes in health, employment and earning capacity.
  • The minor’s age, intelligence, character, interests and personality.
  • The minor’s activities in the household and community.
Proving Wrongful Death Damages

A very important part of proving wrongful death damages is testimony from the family and friends of the Decedent. Additionally, qualified expert witnesses are necessary to offer opinions on a number of subjects including:

  • The life expectancy of the Decedent.
  • The amount of lost future earnings.
  • The value of the loss of non-financial services such as affection and helping around the house.
  • Opinions and calculations on how certain elements of the damages should be reduced to present value.
Questions

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