The loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is devastating. In addition to the emotional toll, families are often left with financial burdens such as medical bills and lost income. In these cases, seeking a wrongful death settlement can provide some relief.
In this article, we’ll discuss the factors that can influence the amount of a wrongful death settlement.
Liability and Negligence
The first and most important factor in a wrongful death settlement is determining who is liable for the deceased’s death. This means proving that the defendant was negligent, meaning they failed to exercise reasonable care and caused the death.
In some cases, liability may be clear-cut. But, in others, it may require extensive investigation and evidence gathering. The assistance of a personal injury attorney in Rockville, Maryland can be crucial in building a strong liability case.
The next factor to consider in wrongful death cases is the economic damages incurred as a result of the wrongful death. This includes medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income. These damages are typically easier to calculate as they involve tangible monetary losses.
Medical bills, in particular, can play a significant role in the settlement amount. If the deceased received extensive medical treatment before passing away, these expenses can add up quickly.
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses. This includes pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. These are more difficult to quantify but can greatly impact the settlement amount.
The age and earning potential of the deceased may also be considered in non-economic damages. For example, a young working adult’s death may result in a higher settlement compared to an elderly retiree.
It’s important to note that each state has its laws and regulations regarding wrongful death settlements. Some states have caps on how much can be awarded for non-economic damages.
Other states allow for unlimited compensation. Understanding the laws in your state is crucial in negotiating a fair settlement.
In some cases, the deceased may have also been partially at fault for their death. This is known as comparative fault or contributory negligence. In these situations, the settlement amount may be reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to the deceased.
The availability and amount of insurance coverage can also play a significant role in a wrongful death settlement. If the defendant has insufficient insurance, it may limit the amount that can be recovered.
Surviving Family Members
The number and financial dependency of surviving family members can also impact the settlement amount. A larger family with young children may receive a higher settlement compared to a single parent.
In rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded in a wrongful death settlement. These are meant to punish the defendant for especially egregious behavior and can greatly increase the amount of compensation.
Explore the Factors that Influence Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts
Seeking a wrongful death settlement can help ease financial burdens and provide some closure. The factors discussed in this article can all influence the amount of a settlement, making it important to consult with a personal injury attorney and understand the laws in your state. So, it is always advisable to seek legal counsel in these situations to ensure a fair and just settlement for your loved one’s death.
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