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Average Wrongful Death Settlement: How Much Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?

The average settlement for wrongful death depends on the specific facts of your case. Factors that can affect the settlement or verdict include the value of your losses, the strength of the evidence available, and several other factors.  Our experienced team of wrongful death lawyers can help you better understand the potential worth of your case. 

While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, a fair settlement can help make this difficult time more comfortable for you and your family. As The Champions For The Injured, our compassionate legal team will build a personalized strategy to get you the maximum compensation possible. We are committed to open communication and easy access to your legal team so you always know the status of your case.

What Is the Average Wrongful Death Verdict or Settlement?

There is no average settlement for wrongful death lawsuits because every case is different. Determining the value of a person’s life is a delicate discussion, done with the knowledge that no amount of money can replace a loved one. Several factors can affect the settlement amount, including:

Damages Attributed to the Deceased and Their Dependents

The value of a wrongful death case depends on the total amount of recoverable damages  and the number of people who were dependent on the deceased party.

The Future Outlook of the Deceased's Life

If your case goes to trial, the jury’s perception of  the future outlook of the deceased’s life could impact your verdict. If the deceased was a pillar of their community, was gainfully employed, and the jury is convinced they had a bright future ahead if they had lived, you and your family may receive more money.

The Negligent Party's Behavior and Intent

How the jury views the negligent party may also affect the verdict. If the incident were an understandable accident, you may recieve a lower settlement amount than if the incident could have been avoided and the responsible party was not acting in the public’s best interests.

Your Lawyer's Skill and Experience

Finally, your lawyer’s skill and experience can affect the amount of compensation you get. Experienced wrongful death lawyers are much more likely to have the resources, skills, and experience to help you get fair compensation.

Photo of wrongful death lawyer and client signing settlement documents

Types of Wrongful Death Losses

Wrongful death compensation also depends on the specific  losses incurred. There are three main types of losses, or damages that you may be eligible to claim in your case, including  economic  losses, non-economic losses, and punitive damages.

Economic Losses

Also known as special damages, economic damages are the tangible, out-of-pocket losses losses you have suffered as a result of losing your loved one. 

Common types of econimic losses in wrongful death cases include:

  • Funeral and burial costs: According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the national median cost of a funeral with a burial and viewing in 2021 was $7,848, while the median cost of a funeral with cremation was $6,971. 
  • Medical expenses: If the deceased incurred health care expenses due to the injury or accident that caused their death, you can recieve compensation for these bills. 
  • Loss of future earnings from the deceased: Your loved one may have been the provider for your family. If that’s the case, your lawyer can file for lost earnings they would have earned in their lifetime. 
  • Lost inheritance: You may also reclaim the amount the deceased would have saved and left to surviving family members.

Non-economic Losses

Also known as generaldamages,  this type of compensation aims to cover your  losses that are more subjective and do not have a specific monetary value assigned to them.

 Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of companionship: These damages are awarded for losing the deceased’s friendship, emotional support, and intimacy. Your lawyer can demonstrate how the death of your family member has affected your life.
  • Pain and suffering: You and your family may be able to recover damages for the anguish or pain and suffering experienced by the decedent from the moment of the wrongdoing or accident until their death.
  • Loss of instruction and guidance: Your family may be able to recover damages for the loss of instruction and guidance the deceased would have provided to surviving children.

Punitive Damages

In many states, punitive damages are an option if the entity or person sued for wrongful death acted intentionally or recklessly in connection with the death. While awards for this type of compensation are rare, courts may sometimes award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and make an example out of them.

Are Wrongful Death Settlements Taxable?

Certain parts of wrongful death settlements are tax-free. According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Rule 1.104-1, settlement amounts for the following will not be subject to taxes:

  • Compensation for a physical injury or illness
  • Compensation for medical expenses
  • Compensation for emotional distress as a result of illness or injury

Punitive damages may be taxed since they exceed the wrongful settlement’s initial losses.

Are There Ways To Increase Your Wrongful Death Settlement Amount?

There are some things you can do that may increase your wrongful death settlement amount, including:

Keep Detailed Records of All Expenses

It’s important to keep detailed records of all expenses incurred after your loved one’s death. Examples include medical bills, funeral expenses, and the deceased’s partner’s income statement. 

Avoid Accepting Offers Without Consulting Legal Counsel First

The negligent party’s legal representative or insurance company may try to contact you about your casee. Never accept any offer from them— they may offer a settlement that does not give you all the compensation you deserve.

Instead, direct the negligent party’s insurance company and legal representative to your lawyer. Your attorney will negotiate with them to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Get a Comprehensive Report from the Coroner

Lastly, you may want to request  a comprehensive report from the coroner. The report will demonstrate the circumstances around the death. This may strengthen your argument that the responsible party’s negligence caused your loved one’s death.

Our Compassionate Legal Team is Here to Help

The value of wrongful death cases depends on many factors, including the losses attributed to the deceased and their dependents, the negligent party’s intent, and the specific types of  losses incurred. 

If you don’t know how much your case is worth, our experienced wrongful death lawyerscan help you determine the value of your case. NST Law is a large personal injury firm that has fought for injured victims’ rights for over 32 years. We have won over $2 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. 

Our firm helps injury victims nationwide, and we have offices in:

Call The Champs at 800-529-4004 today or fill out this form for a free consultation.