When a loved one dies as a result of another person’s negligent behavior, the victim’s family may be eligible for compensation. A wrongful death settlement is based on several factors depending on the case’s facts. Although the compensation cannot change the accident’s outcome, it can help you financially after the death of your loved one.
Determining how a wrongful death settlement is calculated allows you to anticipate the value of your case and better understand what to expect. At Morris Bart, LLC, our lawyers can help you during this difficult time by handling all aspects of your claim, including calculating an adequate case value, so you and your family have the compensation you need.
Various Elements Affect a Wrongful Death Settlement
It’s crucial to remember that your case and settlement value are unique to you. The exact settlement you can expect will depend on several factors related to your loved one and the accident. When calculating a wrongful death settlement, the aspects that may impact your final value include:
- Age at the time of the accident
- Income, earning potential, and lost benefits, such as health insurance
- The familial situation, especially when the deceased had children or multiple dependent family members
- Level of education or training and role in the community
- Overall health outlook at the time of the accident
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills from the accident
- The accident’s circumstances
- Liability considerations
As you pursue a wrongful death action, you will need to show evidence that supports these factors and the settlement’s value. Our legal team will help you understand how each element may affect your specific settlement and build the case necessary to support your claim.
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How Much Is My Wrongful Death Settlement Worth?
It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much your settlement is worth, as it depends on the objective facts surrounding each of the factors mentioned above. However, understanding the types of damages you may be eligible for can help you as you calculate your wrongful death settlement.
The damages in most wrongful death cases include:
- Accident-Related: losses as a direct result of the accident that may include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, the deceased’s pain and suffering, and funeral expenses
- Survival-Related: compensation for the victim’s surviving family, including lost income, lost benefits, lost earning potential, loss of companionship, and other ways a deceased person’s family may lose due to the death of their loved one.
It’s essential to include all types of damages into your wrongful death action to ensure you and your family have what you need to handle the expenses of your loved one’s death. We can determine what damages you may be able to include in your claim.
Estimating the Value of Your Loved One’s Lost Wages
Lost wages will make up a significant portion of your total settlement value. Therefore, it’s essential to be thorough and detailed during this portion of calculating your wrongful death settlement. In most cases, lost wages include not only your loved one’s salary but also pensions, 401k, other retirement benefits, bonuses, and health insurance.
Generally, lost wages calculations start with determining how many years the decedent would have likely continued to work if not for their death. This figure depends on their age, health outlook, time until retirement eligibility, and work experience. Additionally, considerations may be given to possible wage increases the decedent would have made based on their career path at the time of the accident.
You Have Options If You Disagree with the Settlement Amount
The decision to accept a settlement offer is yours alone. If you disagree with any aspects related to calculating the settlement, or the final settlement offer, you have options. Your first option is to issue a counteroffer and proceed with the negotiation process. If you are still dissatisfied, you can take your case to court.
At Morris Bart, LLC, we will help you with every stage of your wrongful death case, including the initial settlement offer, negotiations, and preparing your case for trial if necessary.
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How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid?
In most cases, the insurance policy of the person responsible for the accident pays for a wrongful death settlement up to a policy’s limits. In some cases, the defendant may also be responsible for paying part of the settlement.
You can decide to receive your settlement as a lump-sum payment or as a structured settlement that involves multiple payments over a specific period. As you calculate your wrongful death settlement amount, you may want to consider the benefits and downsides to both payment options to determine what’s best for you and your family.
Contact the Legal Team at Morris Bart, LLC, About Your Wrongful Death Action
Our legal team can help you with the potentially complex task of calculating a settlement amount that adequately reflects your losses after a loved one’s wrongful death.
Call to speak with a lawyer today about your wrongful death case and learn more about how we may be able to help.
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