William T. Wilson

Attorney & Counselor at Law, LTD

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Do not forget loss of future earnings in a wrongful death case

The legal damages that are potentially compensable in a Texas personal injury or wrongful death case can vary depending on the applicable facts of each case. Some are of a non-economic nature, while others are pecuniary.

When fatal accidents occur through negligent actions of others like those recently suffered in our local areas, the emotional pain of the loss of life to the family members is immeasurable and often lasts a lifetime. In addition, the financial losses that result to the dependent family members of a person who dies can be further, devastatingly life-altering.

If a wrongful death claim is appropriate, there are many aspects of resulting damages that must somehow be quantifiable. One of the material forms of damage may include income that the accident victim would have earned had he or she not died in the accident.

Loss of future earnings

Sec. 41.001 of Texas’ Civil Practice and Remedies Code discusses the compensable damages that may be had in a wrongful death claim. Future loss of earnings refers to financial loss that occurs after the date of a judgment. It may include loss of wages as well as loss of earning capacity.  

Noneconomic losses

This is a different aspect of the loss from economic damages.

  • Physical or emotional pain
  • Loss of consortium or a diminished level of family relationship
  • Disfigurement or physical impairment
  • Injury

Noneconomic loss is not a cut-and-dry concept, and a jury in a personal injury or wrongful death action will use its best judgment to quantify how it believes the liable party may compensate for these painful damages. On the other hand, loss of earning capacity may be more of a numbers determination and typically a claim for some will require the use of a vocational expert to provide a well-supported opinion. It may be far different from merely multiplying the deceased person’s pre-death income level by his life expectancy years.




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