A motor vehicle that results in death causes obvious loss to the survivors of the dead person. However, proving the loss from such a calamity can be a subtle and complex task. The flood of public comments that was unleashed by the recent death of Greg Knapp, an assistant coach for the New York Jets, provides an insight into how such evidence can be marshalled to measure the family’s losses.
Very few details about the accident have been released. Media reports indicate that Knapp was struck by a car while riding a motor cycle near his east-bay home of Danville. The driver of the automobile remained at the accident scene, but no other details about the accident or possible liability have been released. Knapp was taken to a nearby hospital where he tried to recover from his injuries. A few days after being hospitalized, Knapp succumbed to his injuries without regaining consciousness.
Not enough information has been released to support any theories about liability or comparative fault. Nevertheless, the fact that Knapp was apparently struck by a car lends credence to the theory that the driver of the automobile bears the lion’s share of fault. Knapp’s liability, if any, may depend upon whether he had violated a traffic sign or speed limit.
Damages in wrongful death cases depend upon the family’s financial and emotional loss. Knapp most likely earned a high 6-figure income as an assistant coach, and he was only 58 years old. His fellow coaches uniformly praised Knapp’s personality and his coaching abilities. Knapp left a wife and three daughters. They would have looked to him as a significant source of financial support in the future.
Anyone who has lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident may wish to investigate the possibility of recovering damages for their losses. A consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for lost economic support, emotional support, and medical and funeral expenses.