What is a Wrongful Death Settlement?
By Chris Dixon
A wrongful death claim can be filed to recover any damages that a deceased person could have claimed while alive for their injuries and financial damages. If you recently lost a family member in a fatal accident, you could be eligible to recover compensation with a wrongful death claim. A compelling wrongful death claim typically includes evidence from the accident, proof of death, and a powerful demand letter written with the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Each state in the U.S. has its own laws for wrongful death claims. In most states, the spouse of the deceased and immediate family members can recover damages for their family member’s death caused by another due to their state’s wrongful death statute. Where wrongful death statutes in the U.S. differ though is what constitutes as an immediate family member. In some states, the parents, children, partners, or grandparents of the deceased can recover damages with a valid wrongful death claim.
If you recently lost someone in a fatal accident caused by another, you need a wrongful death attorney by your side to negotiate an acceptable wrongful death settlement. It can be challenging to understand the true value of your case, whether you are eligible to file a claim for your family member’s death, and know whether you are within your state’s time frame for filing a wrongful death claim. Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer to represent your case ensures that you are within your state’s statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, aware of your rights, and won’t accept less than your family member’s case is worth.
How Can I Recover Damages for My Family Member’s Wrongful Death?
Losing a family member in an unexpected accident can be emotionally and physically painful, and leave permanent damage. If you or someone you know has recently lost someone in a sudden accident and needs help navigating the wrongful death settlement process, it’s essential to have a wrongful death attorney on your side. A wrongful death settlement is typically reached by proving that another party’s negligence caused your family member’s death, is liable for damages, and the accident caused the surviving family member’s of the deceased to experience a loss of income or some other type of harm.
Most wrongful death settlements are reached outside of court, but in some cases, it can be beneficial to file a lawsuit to recover additional damages. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit should never be taken lightly, and should only be considered after lengthy negotiation from your lawyer. Taking a case to court without the recommendation of a lawyer can put your case at risk of recovering less compensation, or no damages whatsoever, so it’s best only to consider this route if your lawyer believes that you could receive a higher wrongful death settlement by going to court.
What is Included in a Wrongful Death Settlement?
Wrongful death claims vary from case to case and are determined based on the elements involved in the accident. Factors that are considered when determining a wrongful death settlement include:
- Who Was Involved in the Accident? – was anyone else involved in the accident? Were there any witnesses?
- Who is At Fault? – is one party at fault for the accident? Is fault equally shared? Otherwise split?
- What Caused the Accident? – was there bad weather involved? Anesthesia errors? Defective products?
- Were Other Negligent Behaviors Involved? – in most accidents there is often more than one causation. Was either party under the influence? Speeding or distracted while driving?
- What Evidence is There? – the most influential pieces of evidence to support a wrongful death claim are police and medical reports, witness accounts, and in product liability and medical malpractice cases; proof of purchase and an established doctor-patient relationship
- Who is Filing the Claim? – is the surviving spouse experiencing loss of affection? Is their family suffering from a loss of income?
- When Did the Accident Happen? – how long has it been since the accident? Is the claim within the state’s statute of limitations for wronful death claims?
The value of a wrongful death settlement is calculated by adding up monetary damages such as medical bills, property damage and loss of income, then multiplying the total by a number to reach a total that includes compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of affection. The first offer that the other party’s insurance company provides is considered a “starting point” or baseline amount that can be mediated and negotiated by a wrongful death lawyer to reach a higher settlement for your family’s harm and losses.
Consult a Wrongful Death Settlement Lawyer Today About Your Case
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a claim for their family member’s wrongful death, consulting an experienced lawyer about the accident can ensure that you and your family are taken care of during this difficult time and that a satisfactory wrongful death settlement is obtained for your family member’s sudden death.
Most wrongful death settlement lawyers use a contingency plan so you won’t have to worry about paying for their services until they recover compensation for your case, and will help you and your family in any way that they can during the negotiation process. If you are ready to speak with a wrongful death lawyer about your family member’s accident, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.