DAMAGES FOR NEGLIGENTLY CAUSED DEATH

This past week my partners and another friend have been preparing for wrongful death trials. I was asked to contribute some thoughts. Since I’ve collected a few ideas I thought I would share them even though they are not in any particular organized sequence.

Some years back I copied  an article entitled “A Portrait of a Mother” and what follows are some excerpts from that article. I regret that I didn’t keep the source or the author or I would provide it.

A Portrait of a Mother

When we were little, mother was everything to us – the police department, the Board of Education, the department of public works, the recreation commission, the finance department, the court of correction. She was a busy person. The only reason she wasn’t driven out of her mind is because she was a mother with the leadership of Moses, the courage of Daniel, and the patience of Job.

But whether she be 18 or 80, mother is an irreplaceable treasure. None other will ever love you half so well or half so foolishly. None other will be so sure you are right, good and worthy. Of course, sometimes she’s wrong. But God love her for it and keep her forever in his grace.

Here are some phrases and some lines from poetry which have thoughts about death.

  • God didn’t want to be everywhere so he created mothers.
  • A mother’s work is like the railroad tracks, the end seems to be in sight but never is.

From a poem:

“It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone; a part of us died with you the day God called you home. A million times we’ve needed you, a million times we cried; if tears alone could save you, you would never have died.

Ideas that capture the impact of death:

  • Death is the great emptiness. It is the bottomless pit of pain, loneliness and grief. Death means wet pillows at night and holes in your heart.
  • Drop by drop wears a hole in stone and death minute by minute, day by day, wears a hole in the heart of the survivor

Here are some common phrases that express the magnitude of death:

  1. the kiss of death
  2. it’s a matter of life and death
  3. dead and buried
  4. death is forever

This poem about love dying reflects the pain of death of a loved one:

“The night has a thousand eyes and the day but one; yet the life of right of the bright world dies with the dying sun. The mind has a thousand eyes and the heart but one, yet the light of the whole world dies when love is done.”

Think about analogies that express the great magnitude of death:

  • Suppose there is a room full of priceless paintings and a fire breaks out with a mother in a wheelchair  in the room. What anyone question the choice of saving the paintings  or the mother even if that meant the loss of millions and millions of dollars in valuable paintings? Life is worth more than the most expensive material.
  • What is the policy in the military for the pilot flying a multimillion dollar aircraft and a choice has to be made between trying to see the aircraft or ejecting and saving the life of the pilot? Life over multimillion dollar planes.

The fact is that just as one instrument off key can ruin the entire symphony a death in the family has the same impact. These brief and simple thoughts are examples of the powerful destructive force  of an unnecessary  death. It’s our job  to find  the words to capture this fact.

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