Return to Articles

How Are Wrongful Death Benefits Calculated?

It can be incredibly challenging when a loved one passes away unexpectedly.

You will likely experience financial difficulties as a result of the death of a family member as you grieve your loss.

A claim for compensation from someone whose carelessness, recklessness, or malicious activities led to the death is known as a wrongful death case.

But how can you calculate the value of your claim? When is a settlement deemed to be fair compensation?

We’ll take a look in the article below.

 What Are Wrongful Death Damages?

Wrongful death cases are brought under state law, and each state has different rules about how damages are awarded.

But in every state, wrongful death benefits are compensation for the financial losses that arose due to the wrongful death.

Damages you recoup can be both economic and non-economic losses.

In addition to financial losses, you can recover damages for the suffering the deceased person experienced before passing away.

Or they can be for your emotional pain and suffering as a result of the death of your loved one.

Wrongful death damages are for the costs the death caused.

You might even win punitive damages due to how heinous the defendant acted. 

Several such instances of wrongful death damages are provided below:

  • Missed companionship.
  • Lost support.
  • Lost income.
  • Funeral expenses.
  • Burial costs
  • Emotional distress.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Medical expenses.

If you just lost a loved one in an accident, you should speak to wrongful death lawyers that can help you win the damages you and your family deserve.

women cry from death of a loved one in an accident

Who Can Recover Wrongful Death Damages?

If you believe that another party may have contributed to the death of your loved one, you can pursue a wrongful death claim.

Typically, you must suffer damage due to the death.

Most states believe some people experience a loss from another person’s death.

Usually, they are married to or personally related to the victim. 

These parties are allowed to receive compensation after a wrongful death in most states:

  • Parents
  • Kids
  • Spouse

Some states permit the recovery of more distant relatives. Grandparents and siblings, for instance, could be able to argue their case.

Additionally, anyone who suffers financially due to the death may file a claim.

Wrongful Death Compensation Damages You Could Win

In wrongful death cases, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Monetary damages include compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages.

Noneconomic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, loss and grief, and loss of companionship.

Some states also award punitive damages for the death of the deceased person. 

Most states require that the plaintiff establish negligence by clear and convincing proof.

This standard requires the plaintiff to show that it is highly probable that the defendant’s actions caused harm.

To do this, the plaintiff must offer expert testimony showing that the defendant’s conduct fell outside acceptable professional standards.

Depending on your state, in a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be entitled to awards for economic losses like:

  1. Funeral expenses if the survivor or estate paid.
  2. Hospital, pharmaceutical, and medical expenses before death.
  3. Wages lost after the accident and before the decedent passed.

You may also be entitled to receive awards for noneconomic losses like:

  1. Surviving spouse’s pain and suffering.
  2. Pain and suffering for parents who have lost a child.
  3. Pain and suffering your loved one experienced before death.
  4. The surviving spouse’s lost companionship and protection.
  5. Loss of parental training, companionship, and guidance for minor children.

Compensation may also include the monetary and emotional support you anticipated from your loved one.

This might be anything from daily help to the savings you would have gotten from the decedent.

If you believe that someone else is responsible for the death of your loved one, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney for a free consultation.

It’s tough to win a wrongful death without legal counsel from personal injury attorneys.

How Do I Calculate Wrongful Death Damages?

Wrongful death lawsuits are governed under state law.

Each state sets its limits on how much money can be recovered.

Some states allow unlimited recovery, while others limit it to $250,000 or less.

In most states, there is no cap on damages that can be awarded.

This means that the amount of money that can be awarded depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. 

A lawyer will help you determine if you qualify for compensation.

The total damages awarded depend on several factors, including the parties’ relationship, the type of harm done, and the extent of the injuries sustained.

Calculating economic damages is pretty straightforward.

The bills are simply added up and presented.

You can make the most of these damages by keeping accurate records and completing an in-depth investigation with your lawyer.

It is more challenging to evaluate non-economic damages.

You can compare your losses to those in previous wrongful death cases.

Or you could use a multiplier of their financial costs.

You could demand twice or three times as much in non-economic compensation that you got in economic compensation.

For example, if you incurred $50,000 in economic costs, you could use a multiplier of two and demand $100,000 in non-economic damages.

Non-economic damages are based on the severity of the deceased person’s injuries and the other specifics of your case.

This analysis should help you calculate what your wrongful deaths could be.

To get a better idea, speak to experienced wrongful death lawyers.

How Can An Attorney Help With Wrongful Death Claims?

Wrongful death claims are complex matters involving many different parties.

In addition to dealing with insurance companies, it is necessary to deal with medical providers, funeral homes, police officers and others involved in the incident.

An experienced attorney can assist you throughout the entire process.

An attorney can help with all aspects of the case, including proving each element of the claim.

They will be able to explain how the defendant caused the accident and why they must pay damages.

Your attorney will work closely with you and your family to negotiate a fair settlement.

They will ensure you receive maximum compensation for losing your loved one.

Insurance companies will often offer a settlement soon after the death before the family has time to grieve or realize their losses.

An attorney can advise you about whether or not you should accept the offer.

Most of the time, you should never accept the first offer.

The legal team at Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys understands how traumatic dealing with a wrongful death case can be, which is why we approach each client with care and respect.

We ensure that you are taken care of and will fight to the end to make sure you are compensated fairly. Contact the law firm of Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for a free case evaluation from a qualified and experienced wrongful death lawyer today!

Return to Articles