Death Benefits Not Deductible from Tort Damages

In brief supplementary reasons, given in Wright v. Hannon (the original reasons for judgment can be accessed here), Mr. Justice Randall S. Echlin held (or perhaps “confirmed” would be a better word), that statutory accident death benefits are properly characterized as “non-pecuniary” payments and so, are not deductible from an award of tort damages. Such benefits are, he said, “paid ‘in recognition of the values of life’ and therefore are clearly not deductible.” He felt that this issue had already been determined by the 2002 decision of Justice Spiegel in Di Girolamo v. Smolen. (That decision was also applied, to similar effect, in the 2004 case of Carter v. Sanders.)

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