At common law, there was no right to recover damages for the wrongful death of another. North Carolina General Statutes § 28A-18-2, however, provides a cause of action for wrongful death in North Carolina, and provides the basis upon which damages may be awarded. The primary concerns of a plaintiff proceeding under the statute often center around proving those factors listed in the statute as possible components of the damage award. The difficulty inherent in a wrongful death action lies in reaching a fair and reasonable estimate of the lost income the decedent could have earned but for an untimely death, and the loss of such intangibles as decedent's society and companionship. This article examines one method of offering evidence on those factors listed in section (b) of the statute, particularly loss of income and the value of services rendered by the decedent, through the use of an expert economist. Sections III and IV of the article present the approach of two expert economists to this task through the use of two hypothetical case studies.
Joseph E. Johnson and George B. Flanigan, Economic Valuation for Wrongful Death, 6 Campbell L. Rev. 47 (1984).