Determining A Wrongful Death Claim’s Worth

When an individual dies, family members can choose to file a wrongful death claim. While all cases are different, a common question is how much is the claim worth? Although there is no way to pinpoint the exact value of a suit, there are factors you can examine that will give you a more general idea.  

Shared Negligence

When it comes to shared negligence, the goal is to determine whether or not the deceased was at least in part responsible for their death. Take a car accident in which the responsible party and the victim were speeding, for example. If upon impact from the negligent driver's car, the victim slammed into an object, it could be argued that if he or she had been driving slower they may have been able to avoid the object, thus preventing a fatality. Cases of shared negligence inherently have a lower value. Someone who was not wearing a seatbelt could also fall in this category.

Quality Of Life

Wrongful death suits don't always involve immediate death. For scenarios where the victim does not pass away immediately, their quality of life after the injuries were sustained will also be a factor when determining the value of a claim. For example, a family member whose loved one had to endure long lasting, extreme pain before passing away will sometimes have a higher suit value than someone who passed immediately and without pain. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the level of suffering, the more money awarded.

Family Impact

The level at which the death of the victim will impact remaining family members is also a consideration. Take the passing of a wife who is also the mother to two small children, for example. In this case, compensation would also need to be set aside for the spouse and children, as their wife or mother is no longer around to serve in this role.

Compensation is also set aside for any financial dependence remaining family members had on the victim. For example, in a one-income home, if the working spouse was the victim, the claim could also be higher since the family depended on this person for their financial needs.

When it comes to assessing the value of your suit, talking with an attorney, like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C., should be your first step. An attorney can examine the facts of your case to help you come up with a figure.