What You Need to Know About The Average Wrongful Death Settlement

While each wrongful death case is unique, there are still several important things to keep in mind when considering bringing a legal claim. Understanding a typical settlement stems from knowing the types of settlement amounts, and the personal characteristics of the victim in the case. Here’s everything you need to know about the average wrongful death settlement.

What is a Wrongful Death Settlement?

A wrongful death settlement is money paid to resolve a personal injury claim resulting in a fatality. The surviving members of that victim may bring a claim to receive compensation for the losses they experienced, as well as to hold the party accountable for their loved one’s death. This type of lawsuit may be brought against anyone who negligently caused a death, including medical professionals, negligent drivers, and manufacturers.

Related: Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Calculating Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts

These types of settlement amounts depend largely on the facts of the individual case and the personal characteristics of the victim. Placing a monetary value on a person’s life is incredibly difficult, so there are several factors taken into consideration when determining a settlement amount. Factors considered include but are not limited to:

  • The age of the deceased person
  • The deceased’s income at the time of death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Last medical expenses for the victim
  • Needs of surviving dependents
  • Whether exemplary damages are appropriate in the case
  • The value of any lost benefits, such as a pension or health insurance

Related: 7 Types and Examples of a Wrongful Death Case

Every wrongful death settlement is a serious matter, as every life is important and deserving of a large amount of compensation. The average death settlement ranges anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million. A typical wrongful death settlement amount will depend on the individual circumstances of the case, which may result in a value being more or less than average. The damages amount must be more than just a ballpark estimate, as it should be supported by objective evidence regarding the victim’s circumstances.

Factors That May Affect Settlement Amounts

In addition to the previously mentioned factors taken into consideration when determining the value of a settlement amount, there are also certain aspects that may reduce recovery or bar wrongful death awards altogether. For example, if a loved one is found to be partly at fault for their own accident, the amount a family member may be able to recover may be reduced or eliminated. Every case is different, but it is important to consider whether or not a victim acted negligently in their own accident.

Secondly, another factor that may impact a settlement amount is if the statute of limitations has expired. A statute of limitations is essentially a set maximum amount of time after an event to file a wrongful death action. Each state may have different ranges of time for bringing a claim forward. However, if the wrongful death claim is brought against a government, such as a city or state, the statute of limitations may be even shorter.

It may be beneficial to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure accurate deadlines and how to proceed efficiently. Failing to hire the right attorney may also be a factor that can affect a wrongful death settlement amount. For this reason, it is important to conduct research and hire a knowledgeable attorney with related experience to ensure adequate compensation is received.

FAQs About the Average Wrongful Death Settlement

How are wrongful death settlements paid out?

This type of settlement is often paid out by insurance providers who provide liability coverage for the party being held responsible. In the event that the defendant does not have sufficient insurance coverage, they will be personally responsible for any legal fees or judgment amount accrued in the process.

What can you do if you disagree with the settlement?

If you disagree with the settlement amount being offered, the next course of action would be to proceed to trial and attempt to prove the right to more damages and the amount of damages. There is no guarantee that proceeding to trial will change or improve the offered settlement amount, as trial success is difficult to predict.

How can a lawyer help with this process?

An experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney can help review your individual case to explain the types of damages you may be entitled to. This type of legal resource will be useful in becoming familiar with the amount of damages in cases similar to yours, and may be able to negotiate reasonable settlement offers.

Contact Us

If you have any more questions about the average wrongful death settlement, contact us. The attorneys at Her Lawyer can help you build a strong case and receive compensation on behalf of the wronged party. Get your free consultation today!