How To Determine If A Wrongful Death Case Is Worth Pursuing

July 4, 2022

There are many things to take into account to determine if a wrongful death lawsuit is worth pursuing. The amount you receive for the wrongful death of a family member will vary depending on how much financial loss you and your family have experienced as a result, as well as other factors.

The reality is that no wrongful death attorney can guarantee that you will get a certain amount in your wrongful-death lawsuit. Similarly, there is no standard amount that people can expect to receive in this type lawsuit.

After hiring a good wrongful death lawyer , he/she will need to examine the facts surrounding the case in which your loved one died. In order to get the best settlement, the attorney will have to establish who was responsible and what financial losses your family may experience in the future.  Let's begin by looking at how this type lawsuit works.

A wrongful death is when a person's negligence, recklessness or actions result in the death of another person. Wrongful death can occur at work or anywhere else, but most often it occurs in a car accident where the other driver made mistakes that led to the fatal crash that claimed the life of your loved one.  There are numerous factors that are considered when determining the case's value.

Determining the Value of Wrongful Death Damage

These are typically 5 factors that can help you decide if your wrongful-death lawsuit is worth filing. These factors can be used to calculate your wrongful death damages.  They consist of:

  1. The pain that the victim felt before their death.
  2. The incident incurred costs (i.e. Hospital/ambulance fees and funeral/burial costs.
  3. Any economic losses suffered by the plaintiffs as a result.
  4. The egregiousness(criminality) of the defendant's behavior.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate upfront an accurate amount of compensation that you could receive from a wrongful-death litigation.  Sure, there are some financial numbers that are easy to calculate, like the funeral expenses and medical bills of the deceased before the death.  But, there may also be other damages.  For instance, your wrongful death attorney and the responsible party's insurer may negotiate pain and suffering amounts,  as well as several other damages in which he/she can use the number of years that your loved one may have worked to determine the money they may have earned throughout their life from their current job.

Economic vs. non-economic damages

The above factors show that wrongful death claims can involve different types of damages. Simply put, there are both economic and non-economic damages. Each one deserves compensation.  Economic damages are those items having a value that can be simply measured in prices of those items in the current market .  As a result, the calculations are easy for economic damages. Simply add up the bills and then present them. By keeping accurate records and conducting thorough investigations, you can increase your chances of maximizing them.

It is harder, however to calculate the non-economic damages. Non-economic damages will compensate affected family members for things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of companionship/ consortium

This is not a complete list and each case is unique. These damages are intended to compensate victims for their pain, emotional distress, or psychological injuries after an accident. Oftentimes,  plaintiffs will usually compare their loss with other cases and make similar monetary demands.  Someimes, they might ask for non-economic compensation up to three times the amount they have paid in economic costs.  For example, if they have $50,000 of economic expenses, they will request 2 to 3 times that amount in non-economic damages. This will, of course, depend on the extent of their loss.  Both types of harms will have a greater chance of recovery if you can show that you expect to continue suffering as a reult for a long time. So, when estimating the total value, it is important to consider the timeline.  This analysis will help you determine the potential value of a wrongful death case.

If you recently lost a loved one in a wrongful death, contact our wrongful death lawyer for a FREE consultation . . . .

Michael D. Beharry, Esq.

An experienced personal injury attorney in the Miami area, who is committed to helping injured accident victims with cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, rideshare accidents, wrongful death, slip and falls, as well as brain and spinal cord injuries.

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