If you are facing the difficult process of filing a wrongful death claim, you may find that financial struggles associated with the situation are placing an additional burden on your family. For this reason, you may wonder how much compensation you could receive in your wrongful death settlement so that you can plan for your family’s financial future. Because all cases are unique, there is no standard minimum or maximum amount that you are guaranteed to receive.
There Is No True ‘Average’ But Estimates Vary By State
A wrongful death case comprises a wide variety of factors, and so it is impossible to specify a hard and fast average number that wrongful death settlements will pay out. However, based upon the unique circumstances of your case, as well as which state you live in and how your state handles wrongful death claims, you may see compensation that is lower or higher than what you anticipated. To ensure that you understand the reasoning behind the amount of compensation that you receive, it is important to clarify the factors that influence the total settlement.
Factors That Affect Wrongful Death Settlement Amount
No amount of monetary compensation can undo the suffering and grief that your family is experiencing, but certain factors will influence how much of a settlement you receive to mitigate financial losses associated with the death. The law allows for the consideration of many financial aspects, including any monetary benefits that you may have received from the deceased, the cost of new expenses for household services, and even future financial support, among others. You can also be compensated for intangible consequences such as loss of consortium, or the absence of companionship, sexual relations, affection and other emotional losses.
The Age Of The Deceased
The age of the person who was killed (often referred to as the decedent) is a commonly considered factor when determining how much a wrongful death settlement will be worth. Earners in the early years of their lives are more likely to be providing for dependents and family and will be unable to further contribute to the financial health of their loved ones. This can lead to a larger settlement amount, as the compensation seeks to reduce the impact of losing a household earner who would have contributed financially for many years to come.
Similarly, a decedent’s older age may prompt a lower payout from a wrongful death settlement, because he or she may no longer have dependents to support. However, these factors are analyzed on a case by case basis, and a young victim is not necessarily guaranteed to be awarded more than someone more advanced in age.
The Deceased’s Income At The Time Of Death
In order to determine how much a decedent may have contributed to their household monetarily, a typical wrongful death case will examine the decedent’s income at the time of his or her death. The purpose of this review is to understand the deceased’s potential future earnings that the family will no longer have access to and compensate them appropriately.
Funeral expenses can be a sudden and stressful influence on a family during a wrongful death claim; many households do not have the funds saved to cover an unexpected funeral. One of the most common areas of compensation for families seeking a wrongful death settlement is for burial and funeral costs, because these expenses would not have been incurred without the negligent behavior that caused the victim’s death. The covered costs associated with a funeral and burial include the casket or urn, services, grave markers and copies of a death certificate.
Consider Seeking Legal Guidance From Wrongful Death Settlement Attorneys
If you are in the process of seeking a wrongful death settlement because a loved one was killed due to negligence, you may be struggling to properly plan for your financial future without a clear understanding of how much compensation you can receive. Wrongful death settlements are based upon objective evidence, not estimates, so it is critical to work with a skilled attorney who is able to prepare a case clearly demonstrating a strong settlement.
The Brown Firm will assist you in understanding your rights during this sensitive time, and will gather the necessary documentation for a successful wrongful death settlement. Reach out to discuss your situation with a skilled lawyer who can guide you through the process and ensure the most positive outcome possible. Contact the Brown Firm PLLC by phone at 703.828.0900 or request a consultation online. There is a strict deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit; therefore, timely response is valuable.