Wrongful Death Settlement Calculator
Greenwald Law Firm Wrongful Death Settlement Calculator
Wrongful death settlements are damages paid for a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim for money damages from someone whose negligence caused the death of another person. Each wrongful death case is unique, and wrongful death settlements for each case vary on a number of factors.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when there is evidence a death would not have happened if not for the misconduct of another person or group of people.
For instance, some common scenarios for wrongful death claims include:
- a driver who disobeys traffic laws and causes an accident
- drivers who fail to pay attention
- medical professionals who negligently perform services, or
- anyone who fails to exercise due care in any particular situation.
The wrongful death action is likely to succeed if there is evidence the responsible party who caused the accident was negligent.
The family members of the deceased can bring wrongful death lawsuits. In the absence of family members, the executor of the estate can bring the lawsuit.
How Do You Calculate Wrongful Death Settlements?
There’s no denying how difficult it is to put a price tag on human life. But in the case of a wrongful death settlement amount, it’s necessary. Wrongful death damages are proportionate to the earning power and financial losses of the decedent, including both economic damages and non-economic damages. This means that the settlement will account for any money or benefits the decedent would have earned if they had lived.
Some of the factors that the wrongful death settlement calculator takes into account to determine compensatory damages include:
- The deceased person’s age
- The earning capacity of the deceased person
- State of health of the deceased
- The loss of income of the deceased at the time of death
- Age and circumstance of the deceased’s dependents
- The education and training of the deceased person
- Funeral expenses/burial expenses
- Medical bills and other expenses incurred
- Value of lost benefits, such as pension or health insurance.
These numbers cannot be a “ballpark estimate”. The plaintiff must provide evidence. In a wrongful death lawsuit, economists and other experts will look at the deceased person’s circumstances to determine an amount.
Wrongful death settlements also take the decedent’s pain and suffering before death into account. Damages for things like loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of guidance are also common.
Because these circumstances are unique to each case, it is important to consult with a Shreveport wrongful death attorney about the facts of your case. The wrongful death settlement calculator can only provide a general estimate.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
The liability insurance of the negligent party will pay out wrongful death settlements.
But insurance policies are not endless stores of cash; they have policy limit amounts. Insurance companies will not pay more than this policy limit amount. The negligent party will be responsible for any amount of money their insurance does not cover. This includes legal fees.
For example, say that a driver has a $100,000 cap on their liability insurance. If they lose a wrongful death lawsuit, and the judge rules $150,000 in damages, the driver must handle the extra $50,000.
Wrongful death settlements are often paid to avoid going to trial.
Are Wrongful Death Settlements Taxable?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is, as it usually is with the IRS, more complicated. Wrongful death settlements are non-taxable, so long as the payments are compensatory.
“Compensatory” means that the payments are compensating for the decedent’s pain and suffering, as well as that of their family.
Damages can also be “punitive”, and taxable. This money serves as a punishment to the negligent party. Not every state allows punitive damages.
It is important that any award of damages states whether the damages are punitive or compensatory. This will make things easier when you are reporting to the IRS. Before you accept a wrongful death settlement, you should consult an attorney. You should also consult an accountant about tax repercussions.
What If I Disagree With A Wrongful Death Settlement?
If you don’t believe you are offered a fair settlement, you’re free to take the case to trial. If you haven’t consulted with an attorney up to this point, do so before making the decision to go to trial. Taking a wrongful death lawsuit to trial is risky. There is no guarantee a judge will grant you the damages you’re seeking.
To win a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that the defendant:
- Was obligated to take due caution or care in the circumstances of the case,
- Was negligent,
- Caused the death of the decedent as a result of their negligence.
For example, in a fatal car accident, it is easy to prove due care. Traffic law requires all drivers to take due care to avoid car accidents while driving. You must also prove that the driver neglected this duty and that their negligence caused the fatal accident. You must prove that the fatality occurred as a direct result of the accident.
Trial success is difficult to predict. If you do succeed at trial, you may be able to recover more than the settlement offer amount, but only if you obtain qualified legal representation.
Do I Need A Wrongful Death Attorney?
If you are pursuing a wrongful death claim, getting the advice of a wrongful death attorney is never a bad idea. A wrongful death attorney can give you an idea of what to expect as a settlement, even if you do not plan to go to trial. An attorney will also be able to negotiate settlement offers on your behalf, ensuring that you are not bullied into an early settlement.
If your wrongful death case proceeds to trial, a wrongful death attorney will know how to present evidence in compliance with court rules. While no attorney can guarantee success, having an experienced attorney like Joey Greenwald on your side improves your chances of recovering damages.
Contact the Greenwald Law Firm
Joseph Greenwald has been advocating for the people of Shreveport in wrongful death lawsuits for almost 20 years. For more information about wrongful death settlements, you can call the Greenwald Law Firm at 318-219-7867. You can also send us a message online to request your free consultation.
What Potential Wrongful Death Damages Can You Recover?
Past and future lost income
Attorney’s statutory fees
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