While most personal injury cases are awarded damages to pay for medical bills or the loss of income or wages, these are not always applicable factors. Fortunately, our legal system is set up to hold people responsible for their actions or inaction by awarding non-economic damages. Attorney Harry. H. Albritton Jr. of Irons & Irons P.A. and Attorney Chris Mauriello of Mauriello Law recently secured a $5 million settlement in a case that shows examples of non-economic damages. To provide more clarity, our wrongful death lawyers in Greenville, NC are sharing insight into the case.

Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a branch of personal injury law in which the victim suffered fatal injuries due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. A representative of the deceased, such as a member of their immediate family or the executor of their estate brings the claim to an attorney who will either negotiate a settlement or take the case in front of a jury.

Compensation in wrongful death often includes economic losses, such as funeral expenses, wages lost, or the loss of benefits and future income. Non-economic losses often include pain and suffering or the loss of comfort and companionship. Punitive damages are a type of non-economic damages that are specifically designed to punish the defendant in, particularly heinous or egregious circumstances.

Securing a Wrongful Death Settlement

A 21-year old college student was killed instantly after a commercial truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the median, and struck her car in a head-on collision. While the defense did concede that the driver was liable, the company denied wrongdoing at the corporate level. However, the driver admitted he fell asleep due to being overworked and a request for time off was denied. Attorneys Albritton and Mauriello investigated further, finding ongoing instances of overworking drivers, placing countless people at risk in collisions.

The facts of the case did show responsibility, but determining a settlement was a challenge because there was no economic loss such as medical bills or a loss of family financial support. However, there was the issue of pain and suffering for the family as well as the potential of punitive damages which led the attorneys for the plaintiff to rely on focus groups to test possible outcomes. While there was a wide range of damages awarded by test groups, the one consistent outcome was that the defendants were accountable and punitive damages should be awarded.

Attorneys Albritton and Mauriello valued the case at $5 million and were willing to go before a jury, feeling confident the plaintiff would be awarded an amount in that range. On August 13, the settlement was agreed upon by both parties, awarding the plaintiff $5 million dollars while both parties agreed on anonymity within the case.

Gib Irons

Gib Irons is the managing partner at Irons & Irons P.A., a law firm in Greenville, NC specializing in divorce, family law, and personal injury litigation. Irons focuses on maintaining a select client roster to ensure personalized attention and exceptional service. His goal is to manage cases efficiently while reducing the stress that often accompanies legal disputes. A local graduate of J. H. Rose High School, Irons went on to earn his BA from Pepperdine University and his JD from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He has been practicing law in North Carolina since 2006, offering client-based service, particularly to high-net-worth individuals aiming for prompt and favorable case resolutions.