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How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?

There’s no way to put a price on a human life. When someone close to you dies due to a catastrophic injury, no amount of money will bring them back. However, you do deserve compensation for the loss of income you suffered and your newfound lack of companionship. How are wrongful death settlements calculated? Several factors contribute to that amount. Let’s look at a few.

How Negotiations Work

When you file a wrongful death claim, you and your attorney work with the defendant’s insurance company to decide on an amount. Many insurance companies make deliberately low offers to minimize their own losses.

Most wrongful death claims are settled out of court. Those who decide to take their case to trial often do so because the insurance company refuses to pay out a fair settlement.

Deciding Factors

Your loved one’s sudden and wrongful death is a harrowing emotional loss, to be sure—but it often deals you a hefty financial blow, too. Some losses you deserve compensation for include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical bills, if your loved one was admitted to the hospital prior to their passing
  • Loss of income, if your loved one contributed financially to the household
  • Loss of medical benefits, if your health insurance was tied to their job
  • Emotional loss, often called pain and suffering

You’ll also need to consider the insurance policy’s limits and determine exactly who was liable for your loved one’s death. A catastrophic injury attorney will be your advocate and point of contact—they’ll talk to the insurance companies and sift through paperwork so you don’t have to.

Doing the Calculations

To reach a number, you and your attorney will need a certified economist to do the calculating for you. In addition to the above financial and emotional factors, they’ll need information about the decedent themselves, including but not limited to:

  • The decedent’s age
  • Their health prior to death
  • Any training and education they received
  • Their earning power

You, your attorney, and your economist will gather all of this information and present it to the defendant’s insurance company. Based on all these losses—income, benefits, companionship, even help around the house—you’ll be able to negotiate a fair settlement.

Although you can’t put a price tag on your loved one’s life, you’ll need compensation for their death as you move forward with your life. Call Rossman Law Group today for a free consultation, and we’ll walk you through how wrongful death settlements are calculated and listen to your story with empathy.