How Much Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
By Chris Dixon
When someone dies because of another person’s negligence, the victim’s family members could be eligible to recover damages on their behalf. An experienced lawyer can analyze your case, determine whether you can file a claim, and calculate how much you can sue the negligent party for in terms of wrongful death damages.
Who is Eligible to Sue for Wrongful Death?
If you have lost a family member in an unexpected accident that was caused by someone else, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. A valid wrongful death claim can recover compensation for the pain and suffering that a victim and their family members experienced because of another person’s negligence. If you aren’t familiar with your state’s wrongful death laws, it can be difficult to know whether you are eligible to sue for damages. Wrongful death laws and statute of limitations vary across the U.S., which can be confusing, but typically, the most common parties that are eligible to sue for wrongful death include:
- Spouses or life partners of the deceased
- The children or designated heirs of a victim
- The victim’s parents
- In some states, the victim’s siblings can file a claim
- Grandparents of the victim, if the above parties are not available
If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, it’s essential to hire an experienced lawyer to represent your case. A lawyer can quickly determine your eligibility to file a claim, how much you could be able to sue for, and provide support when filing a wrongful death claim. It’s also important to keep in mind that the more distant the relation, the harder it often is to obtain full compensation. However, with an experienced lawyer by your side, the wrongful death process is streamlined, and the chances of obtaining justice and the maximum amount of damages for your family member’s wrongful death significantly increases.
What Proof is Required to Sue for Wrongful Death?
If another person’s negligence has caused your family member’s death, you need to consult a lawyer about the accident immediately. If too much time passes between the victim’s death and attempting to file a claim, evidence could deteriorate or get lost, details of the accident could be altered, the other party could try to shift blame, or you might surpass your state’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Hiring a lawyer to represent your case can determine if you are eligible to file a claim, create a personalized plan for the victim’s claim, and help you gather evidence of the other party’s negligence.
Generally, the most common elements that are used when suing for wrongful death include proof of death, evidence of the other party’s negligence, evidence of injuries, and proof that the victim’s surviving family members are struggling as a result of the victim’s death, whether because of a loss of income or loss of affection. Even if you think that you can’t afford a lawyer during this time, it’s essential to speak with a wrongful death lawyer immediately after the accident. Most are committed to making their services accessible and affordable and will work with a victim’s surviving family members to ensure that they have access to the help that they need.
How are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?
Wrongful death settlements can vary greatly, but are calculated in the same manner. The victim’s economic damages – medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses from the accident – are added up, and then multiplied to reach a total that includes compensation for non-economic expenses such as pain and suffering, a spouse’s loss of affection, and loss of income that surviving family members experienced because of the victim’s death.
After the other party’s insurance company offers a settlement, the mediation and negotiation process begins. Hiring an experienced lawyer to represent your family member’s case allows you to avoid dealing with the other party’s insurance company directly, protects you from accepting a lower settlement than your case deserves, and heightens the chance of obtaining justice and the maximum amount of damages for the victim’s case.
Speak with a Lawyer About Your Wrongful Death Case Today
It’s impossible to put a price tag on someone’s life, but compensatory damages can lessen the financial burden of losing a family member and allows you and your family to focus on grieving. If you are unsure if you have the right to file a wrongful death claim, or want to know more about how much you can sue for wrongful death, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with our experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers.