The death of a loved one or family members is never an easy thing to cope with, and if your loved one has died, you may be struggling with feelings of grief, loss, and even anger.
This is especially true if your loved one’s death was the result of a preventable accident.
While there is nothing that can possibly change what has happened or truly compensate you for your loved one’s death, filing a wrongful death claim may offer a sense of justice and closure, as well as the financial relief you need to support yourself moving forward.
But before you file a wrongful death action and begin the process of a civil suit, you may have questions about how much you can recover, and what the wrongful death lawsuit settlement average is.
It is important to know that all wrongful death claims are different, and therefore you should not expect to recover the same settlement as another claimant.
That being said, our lawyers can help you understand the factors that determine a wrongful death settlement, as well as an approximate settlement amount you may recover.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Suit
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil action that may be brought when the death of one party is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or recklessness of another party, and when the decedent would have had a cause of action to bring forth a personal injury claim against the defendant but for death.
A wrongful death claim may be filed by the spouse of the deceased person, the children of the deceased person, or the surviving parents of the deceased.
If none of the above parties exist, then a claim may be brought by the personal representative of the deceased on the behalf of any beneficiaries.
Regardless of who is filing the suit, Georgia recognizes two separate and distinct types of wrongful death claims: a wrongful death claim to establish the full life and value of the deceased, and a wrongful death claim to compensate the deceased’s estate/beneficiaries for financial losses stemming from the decedent’s passing.
As such, damages available via these two claim types include:
- Medical expenses incurred by the decedent prior to death
- The value of the deceased’s lost earnings, earning capacity, and benefits
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The value of pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death
- Noneconomic damages suffered by surviving family members, such as the value of lost parental guidance, companionship, and protection of the deceased
Factors that Affect a Wrongful Death Settlement Value
Again, basing your potential settlement in a wrongful death claim on the “average” settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit isn’t wise; settlements vary greatly depending upon the circumstances of the case. Factors that can affect a wrongful death settlement include:
- Age of the victim. Typically, the younger the victim, the more years the victim would have lived but for death. As such, the greater the loss of potential earning capacity and value of lost wages suffered by the victim and family as a result of death.
- Earnings, education, and training. The amount of wages that a decedent collected prior to death, or would have collected in the future due to employment, promotions, etc. can have a large effect on a settlement, too. For example, the family of a person who had an expected 25 working years left prior to retirement and was earning $100,000 per year would likely be entitled to a larger settlement than an individual of a similar age who was only earning $40,000 per year.
- Economic damages suffered. In some cases, a person who is injured may live for days, weeks, or months with those injuries prior to death, incurring hundreds of dollars in medical expenses along the way. A family deserves to be compensated for these medical expenses, as well as other financial losses, such as the costs associated with
- When a person dies and leaves behind a spouse, minor children, and other dependents, the loss can be especially hard on the family. Having minor children may affect the value of a claim, as minor children not only suffer financial losses when a parent dies but also the loss of parental guidance.
Keep in mind that in addition to the above factors, something that can have a monumental impact on your case is the amount of insurance that’s available.
In fact, if the defendant doesn’t have insurance, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to recoup a settlement at all.
How Can I Know What My Case Is Worth?
The best way to learn what your case is worth, and what the average wrongful death settlement is for cases similar to yours, is to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
A wrongful death attorney can review the details of your claim and provide you with a rough estimate of your claim’s value.
However, until a thorough investigation is opened and there is a clearer understanding of the insurance policies involved, it is impossible to get a precise amount of a claim’s’ value.
Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyers at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashely, P.C. Now
A wrongful death claim in Georgia must be filed within two years of the date of death.
If more than two years elapse, recovery is barred. The earlier you initiate the process, the greater the chances are that necessary evidence will be available, and the better the chances of your claim succeeding.
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., our experienced wrongful death lawyers in Georgia understand how heart-wrenching losing a loved one is.
For your free, no-obligation consultation, please call our lawyers directly or fill out our case review form telling us more about your case. We are committed to advocating for you.
We have offices in Atlanta, Athens, and Lake Oconee and take cases across the state of Georgia. We offer free consultations and there is no fee unless we win your case.