ClickCease How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?

What Is Involved in a Wrongful Death Calculation?

To calculate the value of a wrongful death claim, your wrongful death lawyer will consider several factors, such as loss of income, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and medical treatment and bills leading up to the wrongful death. While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, the financial compensation you receive from a lawsuit is crucial to helping you and your family get closure and prevent additional financial burdens in the future.

When hiring a personal injury lawyer for a wrongful death case in the DC metro area, you need someone with compassion and determination. At Regan Zambri Long, our team understands the heartbreak of your loss. We will shoulder the legal responsibility and hold the liable party accountable so you and your family can grieve in peace. If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, allow Regan Zambri Long to be your ally for justice. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 202-960-4596.

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How Do Lawyers Calculate Wrongful Death Settlements?

father comforting daughter after a wrongful deathTo calculate wrongful death settlements, lawyers must know all the case facts and all the losses your family had because of the accident. Once you have hired an attorney for your wrongful death lawsuit, they will begin investigating the case and determining how much your case is worth. It may feel calloused to put a dollar value on the life of a loved one, but a fair settlement will help with the financial devastation your family is suffering and ensure that you have financial support for the future.

Surviving family members are entitled to compensation for economic damages, which include the following:

Medical Expenses

In some wrongful death cases, the victim may accrue medical expenses before they die. A car accident, medical malpractice, or workplace accident could cause the victim to have hefty medical bills and costs associated with medical care. When the accident is someone else’s fault, the surviving family members should not be left with this financial burden.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

Funeral and burial expenses can add up quickly. For the victim’s family members, the funeral and ceremony can be an essential part of their healing and closure. Any fair settlement amount will account for reasonable funeral expenses.

Lost Wages and Lost Future Earnings

Most wrongful death cases involve the loss of financial support. Whether the family member was the primary wage earner or earned supplemental wages, the economic loss can be difficult for the remaining family to absorb. Fair compensation will account for the wages lost during any hospital stay and wages the deceased person would have earned throughout their life.

Loss of Benefits

If the victim was the primary wage earner, they may also have provided medical, dental, and vision insurance benefits. A fair settlement will account for the surviving family members having to purchase new coverage.

Surviving family members are also entitled to non-economic damages. These damages do not come with a receipt, but they impact the family seriously. Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and Suffering: It is hard to place a dollar value on the pain and suffering caused by a loved one’s death. However, surviving family members are entitled to some financial support. This is different than money to pay for a grief counselor or other mental health services, which would be included in economic damages.
  • Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium is a legal term describing the loss of familial relationships and intimacy. This can cover anything from loss of companionship and comfort to losing the ability to bear children.
  • Loss of Parental Training and Guidance: When a child loses a parent, they lose all the training and guidance the parent would have provided while growing up and maturing. Losing that parent is irrevocable even when another adult steps into that role to help raise and guide the child.

The age of surviving dependents, the age of the deceased person, and the role they played in supporting their dependents factor into how wrongful death settlements are valued.

After a wrongful death occurs, your experienced wrongful death lawyer will look at the facts of your case, as well as the pain and challenges you and your family are facing, to come up with an accurate settlement amount. While this money can’t replace your deceased loved one, it can aid you and your family in getting closure and finding a new sense of normal in the months and years ahead.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when a personal injury accident ultimately causes the victim’s death. Some personal injury cases are more likely to result in wrongful death than others. Some of the most common accidents include:

  • Medical negligence and medical malpractice: when a medical professional makes a mistake, it can have devastating consequences. These accidents are not usually malicious, but the liable professional and/or facility must be held accountable for the error. According to a Johns Hopkins Medicine study, an estimated 250,000 people die from medical mistakes each year.
  • Motor vehicle accidents: truck, car, motorcycle, and other vehicle accidents can be catastrophic and lead to a wrongful death. These are especially disastrous if the accident involves a vehicle and a pedestrian or bicyclist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 45,000 motor vehicle deaths each year.
  • Workplace injuries: falls, equipment accidents, malfunctions, or exposure to hazards and chemicals can all cause wrongful deaths.
  • Intentional acts of violence: gunshots, stabbings, and other intentional acts of violence can cause a wrongful death. In these cases, the liable party may face criminal charges; however, civil lawsuits are options for surviving family members to receive justice for their loved one’s wrongful death.

To have a successful wrongful death claim, you must be able to prove that the liable party acted negligently or intentionally committed a wrongful act, that the actions were the direct cause of the death, and that the death has caused actual damages.

Actual damages include medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.

What Compensation Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

After a person’s death, surviving family members can claim compensation for economic and non-economic damages. These include financial expenses and the emotional and physical toll the loss takes on you and your family.

In some situations, punitive damages may also be awarded. These payments are intended as further punishment for the at-fault party.

Compensation for wrongful death can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the situation and the damages.

Who Is Eligible for Wrongful Death Settlements?

man holding his head at desk with computerWrongful death cases follow a hierarchy in terms of who can file and who can receive benefits.

The first beneficiary is a surviving spouse, followed by surviving parents and adult children.

If the deceased person does not have any of these immediate family members, other family members or a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may receive the compensation if they can show that they were financially dependent on the victim.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

In most states, if the victim had a will at the time of death, only the personal representative of the estate can file a wrongful death case on behalf of the surviving family members. In Washington, DC, and Virginia, the personal representative is responsible for bringing wrongful death action on behalf of the dependents.

Maryland allows spouses, parents, and children to bring a wrongful death lawsuit after their loved one’s death without a personal representative.

In every state, the wrongful death case must be filed within the statute of limitations: three years for Washington, DC, and Maryland and two years for Virginia.

How are wrongful death settlements paid?

Wrongful death settlements are often paid in one of two ways. A lump sum payment is when the entirety of the settlement amount is paid at once. In a structured settlement, payments are made over a specified period of time.

Each settlement type has pros and cons, depending on your situation. For example, a structured settlement allows you to have an income over a specified period and may include some tax benefits. But if you have a lot of outstanding medical bills or other expenses related to the wrongful death, a lump sum payment may be financially better for your family.

An experienced attorney will help you consider the pros and cons and determine the best settlement type for your situation.

Does Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

Insurance coverage for wrongful death claims can vary by policy. However, auto, property, and renter’s insurance may cover a wrongful death.

Additionally, commercial insurance, medical malpractice insurance, and product liability insurance are likely to provide insurance coverage for wrongful death.

If the person who caused the victim’s death does not have insurance that covers wrongful death, they may be personally liable for the damages you have suffered. A wrongful death attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

How Much Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Worth?

Wrongful death settlements are valued based on several factors, including expenses accrued throughout the accident, lost wages and future earnings, and pain and suffering. These factors are unique to each case, meaning each must be valued individually.

You may use wrongful death settlement calculators to find a general starting point, but it is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney. Your attorney will be sure to account for all your damages and losses.

What is the average wrongful death settlement?

Due to the unique factors of each case, the concept of an average wrongful death settlement amount can be misleading. While some estimates begin at $500,000, no law firm can guarantee the amount they can recover for you.

Though Regan Zambri Long can’t guarantee a certain amount for your wrongful death suit, we have made recoveries ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars for the surviving spouse and surviving parents.

When you trust Regan Zambri Long with your wrongful death case, we will ensure the at-fault party is held accountable and pays the monetary damages you are owed.

What Will a Lawyer Do For a Wrongful Death Case?

A lawyer will help you recover compensation for a wrongful death case. Your wrongful death attorney will prove that a person’s negligent actions caused the wrongful death and that your family is entitled to compensation. This can be essential in feeling like some justice has been served.

Wrongful death attorneys also work with the liable insurance company to recover compensation. After determining a fair value for your case, your attorney will begin settlement negotiations and prepare your wrongful death claim in case it needs to go to a trial.

What is the difference between a settlement and a verdict?

A wrongful death settlement is received when the liable party and/or their insurance company agree to pay an agreed-upon sum to compensate for your losses. Conversely, a verdict is passed down by a judge and jury after a trial.

Many cases are successfully resolved through settlement negotiations because trials are more expensive and take longer to resolve. Unfortunately, however, there are times when a wrongful death settlement amount is nowhere near a fair value, and the insurance company refuses to negotiate. In these cases, with an experienced wrongful death lawyer and a solid case, it is in your best interest to take the case to court and demand fair compensation.

Regan Zambri Long: DC Metro’s Best Lawyers for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Negotiating a wrongful death settlement can be overwhelming. Calculating fair compensation, choosing between a lump sum or periodic payments, and filing your wrongful death case is a lot when you are mourning the loss of your loved one.

At Regan Zambri Long, our wrongful death attorneys will handle the legal process, from filing your claim to valuing your case and recovering your settlement money. We know that losing your family member cannot be made right, but we are committed to winning you justice and closure. Holding the at-fault party responsible is often the first step forward.

We will investigate your case, gather the necessary evidence, and seek damages from the liable party for you and your family members. When you hire Regan Zambri Long, you hire experienced allies and ensure that you and your family have space to grieve while the legal process moves forward. With law offices throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, we can handle your case wherever it occurs within the DC metro area.

Our wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid until we recover in your favor. Nothing can make up for your loved one’s death, but Regan Zambri Long can make sure that it does not become a financial burden. You can schedule a free initial consultation with our wrongful death attorneys today by calling 202-960-4596.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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