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How to Calculate the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?
All the Determining Factors

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If you have a wrongful death claim, you’re probably wondering what’s an average wrongful death settlement. This is difficult to establish, as wrongful death lawsuits differ, and there are no statistical resources for calculating the average wrongful death settlement.

However, it can be helpful to know what to expect and what factors affect the payout you can get. Today, Schmidt & Clark lawyers who have successfully handled wrongful death cases will explain everything you should know about a wrongful death settlement.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • The family members bring a wrongful death settlement against a person or a corporation that caused the death of a loved one.
  • While there’s no average wrongful death settlement, an experienced attorney can help you calculate what settlement to expect.
  • Several factors can lower the settlement amount you can get.

What is Wrongful Death Settlement?

Overdosed patient in a hospital bedA wrongful death case is a civil suit brought by the deceased’s family or a personal representative.  They seek compensation for the damages sustained because of a loss of a loved one. 

A wrongful death case is commonly brought when a person dies because another person was negligent or has committed wrongdoing.  This can include a car accident, medical malpractice, workplace accident, and other scenarios.

A wrongful death settlement is money that the family member or the personal representative is paid after the lawsuit is resolved and the defendant is found guilty.

As every wrongful death case is different, there's no average settlement; it varies from case to case and from state to state. 

A wrongful death settlement can go from thousands to millions of dollars depending on the case circumstances. If wrongful death lawsuits are successful, the at-fault party isn’t usually the one that personally pays for the damages, but their insurance companies.

Also read:

Factors That Determine Wrongful Death Settlement

Consulting to an experienced lawyer for a wrongful death

Wrongful death settlements depend on the circumstances of the case.

Some factors that influence the settlement you can get include:

  • How death happened
  • Who was responsible for wrongful death
  • What’s the degree of responsibility
  • Other factors contributing to wrongful death

For example, wrongful death cases caused by a large corporation will have different settlements than cases caused by the actions of one individual.  In a case where a large corporation caused the death of your loved one, there may be other victims as well. In these situations, you may have to share the wrongful death settlement amount with others.

Calculating How Much Money You Can Get

Using a calculator to write and compute the amount of money

  • Decedent’s age
  • Overall health at the time of death
  • Income
  • Earning potential
  • Future financial support you would’ve received
  • Future household services the deceased would have provided
  • Needs of surviving dependents, such as children
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of affection
  • Loss of moral support and guidance
  • Loss of gifts and benefits you would have had if the person lived
  • Pain and suffering

Surviving family members usually take wrongful death action for the damages the person would have gotten had they survived and for the damages the survivors have because of a person’s death [1].

“In addition to survival damages, damages are recoverable for pecuniary loss, funeral expenses, and the reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, guidance, training, and support that the deceased provided.” Burt True, YouTube Channel

Both economic and non-economic damages aren’t easy to calculate. No one knows what kind of work the deceased person would have done and the amount of money you would’ve received.

However, the deceased's age, education, work experience, and history can be used to calculate an average amount. As for the non-economic losses, you may have to show proof of intangible losses.  A personal injury attorney can help you calculate the amount of damages to expect and get compensation for a loved one’s death.

Factors That Reduce the Settlement Amount

Money with a gavel

Several factors can reduce wrongful death settlement amounts or even result in a lawsuit being thrown out by the court. These are:

  • The deceased was partly at fault — If your loved one contributed or caused their own accident and acted negligently, you may receive a reduced settlement.
  • Expired statute of limitations — A statute of limitations is the maximum period you have to file wrongful death claims. In most states, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years, but it can vary. 
  • You didn’t hire an experienced injury lawyer — Wrongful death cases are unique and have legal hurdles. You need an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you get a settlement for medical bills, punitive damages, emotional distress, and other damages.

FAQ

Is Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable?

The wrongful death settlement isn’t taxable under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in IRS Rule 1.104-1 [2].

Hire Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys and Get Damages You’re Due

The death of a loved one is a traumatic experience, especially if wrongful death is the cause.

If you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, a good attorney can help you build a strong case and deal with legal issues.

Contact our wrongful death attorneys today, and get a free consultation. Schmidt & Clark lawyers have a discrete and compassionate attorney-client relationship. 

Injury attorneys in our law firm will let you know what to expect after the free initial consultation and help you get a fair settlement. 


References:

1.https://jle.aaefe.org/wrongful-death-who-recovers-what-where-and-how.html

2.https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2012/01/23/2012-1255

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