There is no average settlement for wrongful death. Each case has unique factors that affect the value, including the damages suffered, details of what happened, and even state laws. Even if calculating an average payout in these cases were possible, it would not inform you of how much your case might be worth or how much you should seek in a settlement.
Your best option to learn how much your claim might be worth might be to hire a wrongful death lawyer who can identify your damages, value your claim, and pursue compensation on your behalf. Most provide complimentary consultations and charge no upfront fees.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Case?
Like many other aspects of wrongful death actions, the recoverable damages differ from state to state. Generally, they include a range of expenses, losses, and intangible damages that the surviving family members experience due to their loved one’s death. Examples include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills incurred prior to death
- Loss of future income from the deceased
- Household services previously performed by the deceased
- Loss of companionship and consortium for the spouse
- Loss of parental guidance, advice, and affection for children
- Punitive damages if the manner of death was grossly negligent or intentional
Some states impose limits on certain types of damages. Your attorney can review the applicable laws with you and help you identify the recoverable damages in your case. The value of these damages could play a major role in the settlement value of your claim.
Wrongful Deaths Occur in Almost Any Type of Personal Injury Accident
If your loved one would have a valid personal injury and negligence claim if they had survived, your family likely has a solid wrongful death case. These accidents and incidents would support wrongful death claims:
- Traffic accidents
- Pool drownings
- Dog bites
- Pedestrian injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Bicyclist accidents
- Defective products
- Dangerous drugs
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Factors that Could Influence the Value of Your Family’s Wrongful Death Claim
Many factors could affect the fair settlement value of a wrongful death claim. In general, the extent of the financial and emotional harm you and your loved ones suffered will define the case’s value. However, these factors could change the value of those damages:
- The circumstances of their death
- How long they lived after the accident before passing away
- Their age and health before their injuries
- The medical treatment they received following the accident
- The income they earned and would likely receive in the future
- The support and services they provided to the family
- Their relationship with other members of the family
Alabama’s Wrongful Death Law Differs Significantly from Most Other States
The recoverable damages and factors that influence the value of a wrongful death case in Alabama vary dramatically from most states. Case law, affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court, dictates that families cannot recover compensatory damages in a wrongful death case.
You cannot seek burial and funeral costs or compensation for your loved one’s lost income in Alabama. Instead, you have access to punitive damages. These damages penalize the at-fault party. However, it is more difficult to prove a case for punitive damages because these claims require showing the defendant acted intentionally or with extreme recklessness.
An Attorney Helps Families Navigate the Wrongful Death Claims Process
Each state has laws and other rules for navigating a wrongful death claim. These statutes can affect many aspects of your case—from who can file to the types of damages available. These are the Gulf South states’ wrongful death statutes:
- Alabama: Ala. Code § 6-5-410
- Arkansas: Ark. Code § 16-62-102
- Louisiana: La. Civ. Code Art. 2315.2
- Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 11-7-13
In many states, these immediate family members can pursue compensation, assuming they suffered significant damages because of their loved one’s death:
- Spouse and children
- The children, if no spouse
- The parents, if no spouse or children
- Siblings, if their parents predeceased them
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Some states, however, only allow the deceased’s personal representative to take legal action in a wrongful death case. This person may be the surviving spouse or another close relative, but not necessarily. For example, the deceased could name their personal representative in their will or estate plan, or the courts could assign the duty to someone.
Your lawyer can determine if you can represent your family in this type of claim or who needs to file based on the applicable laws.
Morris Bart, LLC Is Here for Your Family After the Loss of Your Loved One
At the Morris Bart law firm, our team of attorneys reviews wrongful death cases for free. We can explain what to do next to pursue damages. We represent clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Our contingency fee law firm fights to protect the rights of accident victims and their families.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to speak with our team about your legal options.
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