The untimely death of a family member or loved one is never easy to cope with. This is especially true if their death was the result of negligence, medical malpractice, or a preventable accident.
While nothing can change what happened or completely compensate you for your loved one’s death, a wrongful death suit can offer a sense of closure and justice. Wrongful death lawsuit settlements can also help provide financial relief for you and your family moving forward.
What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death suit is a civil action brought when the death of a loved one is the result of the recklessness, neglect, or wrongful act of another party. It can be brought when the deceased could have brought a personal injury claim against the defendant, had they not died. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by the surviving parents, children, or spouse of the deceased. If none of these individuals exist, a lawsuit can be brought forth for the beneficiaries of the loved one’s estate, usually by their personal representative.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Suit
Regardless of who is bringing forth the suit, there are generally two distinct and separate kinds of wrongful death claims:
- Those that compensate for the pain and suffering, lost earnings, and loss of the full life of the deceased
- Those that compensate the beneficiaries and estate of the deceased for their suffering and financial losses resulting from their death
There are various types of damages available under each of those lawsuits. You may be able to recover damages for the following, for example:
- Medical expenses the deceased incurred before their death, such as costs of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medication, and medical testing, imaging, and treatments
- The value of the deceased’s lost benefits, earnings, and earning capacity
- Funeral and burial costs
- The value of any pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death
- Noneconomic damages surviving family members suffer, including their loss of the protection, parental guidance, and companionship of the deceased
Factors Affecting a Wrongful Death Settlement
Individuals often have questions about how much they can recover—including what the average settlement is—for a wrongful death lawsuit before starting the process of a civil case. It is important to understand that no two wrongful death lawsuits are the same, making it difficult to compare one to another.
Working with an experienced wrongful death law firm like Janet, Janet & Suggs can help you understand factors determining a wrongful death settlement and the approximate settlement amounts you may be entitled to recover.
Hospital wrongful death lawsuit verdicts and settlements can vary significantly depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Several factors can influence a wrongful death settlement. For instance:
- The age of the loved one. Generally, the younger the deceased, the more years they would have lived had the death not occurred. This means the loss of their potential earning capacity and value of future lost wages by the deceased and their family as a result of their death is greater.
- The value of the loved one’s earnings, education, and training. The value of wages the deceased collected before their death or would have collected in the future as a result of their employment and promotions can largely affect a settlement. For example, the family of a person with an expected 30 working years left before retirement who was earning $75,000 a year would likely be entitled to a larger settlement than someone of a similar age who was making $35,000 per year.
- The economic damages suffered. In some cases, an injured person may live for days, weeks, or months before their death, likely incurring thousands of dollars in medical expenses caused by the same source as the death itself. You deserve to be compensated for these and other financial losses and costs.
- Companionship and parental guidance. When the deceased leaves behind minor children, a spouse, or other dependents, the financial and emotional loss can be especially difficult on their loved ones. Having minor children might affect the value of your claim as they suffer not only a financial loss when a parent passes but also the loss of parental guidance.
Why Wrongful Death Settlement Calculators Don’t Work
While it can be tempting to use a “quick and easy” wrongful death settlement calculator, most individuals find that those tools are not accurate in estimating potential settlements. Wrongful death settlement calculators are unable to take into consideration many important factors which are unique to each case. For example, a calculator cannot account for the loss of companionship, parenting, or future income that the family has experienced as a result of the loved one’s death.
Moreover, every wrongful death case is different in terms of the liability and damages involved. In some cases, liability may not be clear-cut, and multiple parties may be at fault. A calculator cannot account for the differences in dealing with various parties, including insurance companies.
An online calculator may serve as a starting point for discussing potential damages, but it does not ever substitute for the expert advice of an experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney, who can help you ascertain the true value of your family’s damages.
How Can Janet, Janet & Suggs Help?
After the unexpected death of a loved one due to a doctor’s negligence, you will need to focus on what matters most to you—your family and the memories of the one you lost. The experienced injury lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have recovered significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients so that they can rebuild their lives after the death of a loved one.
We believe that every case, no matter the size, deserves the same level of resources and attention. We are committed to making sure your rights are protected and that you have the strongest case possible in pursuing the justice and compensation you deserve. If you have lost a loved one because of a doctor’s actions, do not hesitate to contact the wrongful death attorneys at JJS to schedule a no-obligation consultation.