Putting a Value on Loss: How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?
Navigating the complexities of a wrongful death claim can seem overwhelming, but understanding the key factors that influence its value can provide clarity and direction. Firstly, it's crucial to know that the laws of your state play a significant role in shaping what you can recover from such a claim. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations that will affect the outcome.
When considering a wrongful death claim, a range of elements come into play. These include the deceased's earnings at the time of their passing, their potential future earnings, medical and funeral expenses, and the non-economic impact on the family, like loss of companionship and emotional distress. All these factors collectively contribute to the overall value of your claim.
Damages, Losses, and Claimants
One of the first things to consider is how many claimants there are and the amount of recoverable damages. For example, the wrongful death of a 20-year-old, unemployed, unmarried, childless man will likely be valued very differently than that of a 45-year-old doctor with a wife and three children.
If we look at the second scenario in that example, the wife and all three children may have individual claims for the loss of their husband and father. The doctor’s estate may also have a claim based on future lost earnings. However, the 20-year-old in the first scenario may include only his estate’s claim, which may be difficult (or even impossible) to claim if his employment situation is hard to define.
The Jury’s Perceptions
One thing many people forget about is that likability and sympathy play a major role in cases like this. If the deceased person’s family members are likable, seem trustworthy, and invite empathy from the jurors, then the verdict awarded is likely to be higher than if the family comes off as rude, demanding, or dishonest.
Additionally, the jury’s impressions of the deceased person’s life can make a big difference in the amount of the verdict. If the jury feels that the individual was a “good person” who was loved by his or her family and contributed well to their community, then they are more likely to award a higher amount than if the individual seems like a “bad person” or someone who didn’t contribute much to their family or society in general.
The Expertise of Your Wrongful Death Attorney
Some wrongful death lawyers have experience in a wide variety of cases, which gives them a deeper understanding of the nuances of this particular area of law. Your attorney’s skill will play a large role in determining the final amount of your verdict. You also want to consider the reputation of your firm and the attorney representing you – the more time they have spent in the courtroom prosecuting (and winning) wrongful death cases, the better!
Call Wettermark Keith for a Free Consultation!
The points above are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wrongful death cases. There are many more things to consider, questions to ask, and details to sort out before the possible value of your wrongful death claim can be estimated. If you’re ready to start a conversation with an experienced, reputable wrongful death attorney, contact us today for a free consultation. We’re deeply knowledgeable about the various laws in each state where we practice, and we’re ready to bring justice to your family!
Frequently Asked Questions
This question is frequently searched as it helps understand the different types of compensations available in wrongful death claims. Generally, damages can include loss of income, medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and sometimes punitive damages depending on the case's specifics.
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a critical piece of information for claimants. This time frame varies by state, and understanding this helps potential claimants act within the legal time limits to pursue their case.
Generally, wrongful death settlements are not taxed as income. The IRS does not usually tax compensatory damages for physical injury or illness. However, portions of the settlement that are for punitive damages or interest on the settlement may be taxable. It's advisable to consult a tax professional for specific advice regarding your settlement.
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If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.