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Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death Damages: Traditional and Emerging Theories

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, May 9, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will offer guidance to plaintiffs and defendants on effective ways to calculate and present damages for catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. The panel will review what information to seek in discovery and strategies for opening and closing arguments. The panel will also address trends toward expanding the types of damages available and who can recover them.


Assessing catastrophic injury and wrongful death damages is not as straightforward as it might seem. It is one of the most critical and difficult aspects of handling these kinds of cases.

When assessing damages, counsel must consider the injured party or decedent's earnings and life expectancy as well as assign a monetary value to the loss of economic contributions, services, society, comfort, care, protection, and companionship the decedent would have provided. Expert testimony may be necessary and beneficial on these points.

Many aspects of the valuation are intangible, such as pain and suffering. In some states, punitive damages may also be available. A number of states have or are considering expanding the categories of damages and who can claim them. When arguing the monetary value of a life, both sides must try to avoid coming across as insensitive, crass, or opportunistic. Yet there are powerful ways to present damages in wrongful death cases that avoid these problems.

Listen as this experienced panel of trial attorneys offers guidance to plaintiffs and defendants on effective ways to calculate and present damages for catastrophic injury and wrongful death, including the value of a life.



  1. Calculations
    1. Economic damages
    2. Non-economic damages
  2. Evidentiary issues
    1. Discovery strategies
    2. Use of experts
  3. Presentation strategy
    1. Opening
    2. Closing
  4. Emerging trends in catastrophic injury and wrongful death damages


The panel will discuss these and other important issues:

  • What is the role of the defendant's conduct in damages assessment?
  • Is character evidence relevant in wrongful death damages?
  • How can the plaintiff show that future damages are certain?
  • What arguments are generally counterproductive?


Bouchard, David
David Bouchard

Finch McCranie

Mr. Bouchard is an accomplished trial lawyer who represents companies and individuals in complex criminal and civil...  |  Read More

Carter, Xavier
Xavier Carter

Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King

Mr. Carter's practice focuses on medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, catastrophic...  |  Read More

Randels, Margaret
Margaret Elizabeth (Maggy) Randels

Randels Injury Law

Prior to founding Randels Injury Law, Ms. Randels worked at two prominent Atlanta area injury firms for the better part...  |  Read More

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