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Modification of wrongful death compensatory awards

Suddenly and unexpectedly losing a loved one can throw your world into chaos. Such a loss can be utterly devastating to your emotions, especially when the accident that caused the death was wholly preventable. This is often seen in instances of distracted driving, drunk driving and medical malpractice. In addition to having to cope with the emotional pain and suffering experienced in the aftermath of a fatal accident, surviving family members must also find a way to recoup their economic damages, which can include anything from medical expenses, lost wages and funeral costs. Fortunately, a successful wrongful death claim may lead to the recovery of compensation that can help alleviate these financial strains.

Yet, even if Pittsburgh residents succeed on a wrongful death claim, they need to be prepared to make convincing legal arguments as to the proper amount of damages that should be awarded. After all, even if a jury buys into a plaintiff's story with regard to damages, the judge has the right to modify the award, either increasing it or decreasing it. For example, an award may be decreased if evidence demonstrated that the deceased individual had low earnings, even though that individual had a lot of earnings potential.

So, what does this mean for those who are pursuing a wrongful death claim? It means that even once they have established liability they need to be prepared to put forth compelling evidence as to why they believe a certain amount in damages is justified. So long as there is ample evidence to support a jury's award, a court will likely uphold it.

Therefore, surviving family members need to be sure they take the right approach to the legal needs of reviewing evidence, questioning witnesses and crafting persuasive legal arguments. Failing to so to the fullest extent could result in a lower recovery than desired, or perhaps even no recovery at all.

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