Visitor Question

How Much for a Wrongful Death?

Submitted By: Marc (California)

I was inquiring about the average settlement for a wrongful death case. My brother and future sister in law both passed away due to the motor vehicle accident. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Marc,

First and foremost, I am so sorry for your loss.

Wrongful death cases are so difficult because not only are you negotiating with an un-emotional insurance adjuster, you are doing so on behalf of your loved one who you have lost.

Depending on your jurisdiction, only certain heirs can pursue a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate. If you are in a state that allows such a claim, you may be limited by the insurance policy against which you would seek compensation, for example the policy limits may be $100,000.

This does not stop you from pursuing a wrongful death claim against the party at fault in civil court. There, you will have access to a greater settlement.

When an attorney evaluates what a wrongful death claim is worth, they look at things such as: age at time of death, number of earning years remaining, occupation of the decedent, education of decedent, inflation and what money earned today would be worth down the road (prospective income).

For example, if your brother was a surgeon earning $200,000 per year, age 40 with at least 20 years of work remaining, and an income that would have grown over time, etc. the “value” of that claim would be higher than the claim of a party who worked a minimum wage job with a high school education, because the latter individual would earn less money over the course of his or her life.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 23, 2010

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One thought on “How Much for a Wrongful Death?

  1. My mother passed away. A truck rental company dragged her and she went to the hospital but they let her leave. She died weeks later from a blood clot drawing to her heart. It was caused by the accident.

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