How Much Can You Get in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is not necessarily associated with a standard amount of money. There are always specific case particulars in the calculation process, and the value of a claim varies according to what damages can actually be claimed in addition to the loss of life. It is important to remember that the decedent is not the individual filing the wrongful death claim. The case is being filed by the related individuals who have standing for a legal claim.

In many cases the case filing is submitted by a spouse, but sometimes the plaintiff can also be the parents or the victim’s children, as well as the estate attorney bringing a case on behalf of the family. In addition, the estate executor is normally the primary plaintiff, but this can be designated by the court of jurisdiction if the decedent dies intestate without a will to indicate the decedent’s wishes. This ensures that all rights will be maintained and protected during the legal process. Some intensive cases may require an estate attorney as well as a wrongful death lawyer. Learn more about when to call an Attorney for your wrongful death case.

Loss of Wages
First, there are certain fiduciary claims for economic damages that can be pursued in court. Lost future wages is always a primary consideration in computing wrongful death money amounts, and young individuals who have demonstrated significant earning power will have a higher amount that can be claimed. Loss of pension benefits or a future inheritance can also be included in calculations, as well as the medical and funeral expenses associated with the death. Essentially, any expenses incurred as a result of the untimely death can be included, along with the denied future family income contributions of the victim. If you feel you need money ahead of the final judgement, you can ask your Attorney about Lawsuit Funding, to help you get through the matter.

Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium is also a serious consideration for spouses and children, as the children will be faced with living without the benefit of the particular parent, including parental financial support. However, loss of consortium is a non-economic damage award. The dynamics of the family structure can impact amounts, especially if the family only relies on one source of income. Non-economic damages are usually associated with mental anguish or pain and suffering, and can be impacted by the number of children in the family.

Punitive Damages
Punitive damages can also be awarded in some cases, but they are not applicable to some defendants such as various government agencies. Punitive damages are only awarded in egregious cases of gross negligence. Although this appears to be a difficult calculation, many states have set standard punitive damages as treble, or three times, the total amount of the economic and non-economic damages combined. It is important to understand that emotional losses from a wrongful death are not considered punitive, so the opportunity for a much higher damage award is still possible.

Retaining the right litigation lawyer is important in any wrongful death lawsuit of this serious nature. The calculation process can easily become complicated, and a solid wrongful death attorney will understand how to craft the case for a maximum settlement and be prepared to take the case to trial if necessary. Punitive damages are usually awarded by jury or judge, but many times a defendant will opt to settle to avoid the possibility of even a treble punitive award, giving the wrongful death attorney considerable leverage in increasing a settlement.