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  2.  | Understanding Monetary Settlements/Verdicts in Wrongful Death Cases

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience. In addition to the emotional toll, families often face financial burdens resulting from medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of income. Pursuing legal action through a wrongful death lawsuit can provide some measure of justice and financial relief. However, many people are uncertain about how the amount of monetary settlements or verdicts is determined in such cases. As experienced personal injury attorneys, we’re here to shed light on this important aspect of wrongful death litigation.

Factors Considered in Determining Settlements/Verdicts:

  1. Economic Damages: These are the quantifiable financial losses incurred by the deceased’s family, including medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of future income. Calculating economic damages requires careful assessment of past and projected earnings, as well as expenses directly related to the accident.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are subjective and include factors such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress experienced by the surviving family members. Assigning a monetary value to these intangible losses is challenging but essential for achieving fair compensation.
  3. Liability: Establishing liability is crucial in determining the amount of a settlement or verdict. Evidence demonstrating the defendant’s negligence or wrongful actions strengthens the case and can lead to higher compensation. This may involve gathering witness testimonies, expert opinions, and relevant documentation to prove fault.
  4. Insurance Coverage: The defendant’s insurance coverage plays a significant role in determining the potential compensation amount. If the defendant is underinsured or uninsured, it may limit the available funds for settlement. Conversely, substantial insurance coverage increases the likelihood of securing a higher settlement or verdict.
  5. Punitive Damages: In cases involving extreme negligence or intentional misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. However, they are typically only awarded in exceptional cases and require clear evidence of egregious wrongdoing.
  6. Jurisdictional Factors: The laws and legal precedents specific to the jurisdiction where the case is tried can influence the amount of a settlement or verdict. Different states have varying statutes regarding wrongful death claims, which may impact the available damages and legal procedures.

Role of Legal Representation:

Securing the services of an experienced personal injury attorney is essential for navigating the complexities of wrongful death cases and maximizing the compensation awarded. A skilled attorney can:

  • Thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the death to gather evidence and establish liability.
  • Consult with relevant experts, such as medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists, to strengthen the case.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies and defense attorneys to reach a fair settlement that adequately addresses the family’s needs.
  • Advocate for the family’s rights in court if a settlement cannot be reached and litigation becomes necessary.

Monetary settlements or verdicts in wrongful death cases are determined by a combination of economic and non-economic factors, including damages incurred, liability, insurance coverage, and jurisdictional considerations. While no amount of money can fully compensate for the loss of a loved one, pursuing legal action can provide financial support and a sense of closure for grieving families. With the guidance of a compassionate and experienced personal injury attorney, families can navigate the legal process with confidence and pursue the justice they deserve.

If a loved one has been killed through the negligence or criminal action of another person, please call our office today.

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