One question we field here at GJEL is what the “average typical” settlement or jury verdict is for a wrongful death case.
The short answer is that there is no average wrongful death settlement because each case is different. But let’s start by discussing the ranges we typically see in wrongful death cases and what affects the payout for the case.
Average Wrongful Death Settlement
Some wrongful death cases settle for ten’s of million of dollars while others may settle for under a million. Unfortunately, there is no “average or typical” settlement amount. Here is why.
No two legal cases are exactly alike, so there is no way to compare cases to each other. Some cases go to trial while others are settled before the trial.
At trial there can be a lot of unknowns.
The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on a variety of factors, so let’s analyze them.
While there is no average wrongful death settlement, GJEL Accident Attorneys has recovered over $950 Million Dollars for our clients killed in accidents. You can view examples of our wrongful death awards and settlements here.
Here is everything you need to know from our wrongful death attorneys.
Calculate How Much Money You Have Lost or Stand To Lose
It might seem awkward to think of money when thinking about the death of a loved one.
After all, no amount of money to replace the loss of a spouse or child. Nevertheless, California law allows family members to receive compensation for certain financial losses, such as:
● The value of household services. For example, your wife might have cooked and done laundry. After her death, you need to hire someone else to do these tasks. You can receive compensation to pay for these new expenses.
● Future financial support. If you relied on your loved one for monetary support, then their death is a heavy blow to your finances. You can receive compensation equal to the amount of financial support you reasonably were expecting to receive.
● Funeral and burial expenses.
● The loss of gifts or benefits that you would have received had your loved one lived.
Calculating these economic losses is not easy. No one really knows what type of work your loved one would have done in the future or how much you would have received.
Nevertheless, you can estimate the amount of financial support you would have received by looking at your loved one’s age, education, experience, and work history.
The estate can also bring a survival action and receive compensation for medical expenses incurred before death, as well as the pain and suffering your loved one endured in his or her final days.
Analyze Your Intangible Losses
California wrongful death law recognizes the emotional devastation that family members feel after a loved one has died.
Because of this, the law allows you to receive compensation for a variety of emotional losses, including:
● Loss of affection
● Loss of moral support
● Loss of guidance
● Loss of attention
● Loss of companionship
● Loss of sexual relationship
These losses are very real. However, they are harder to calculate because there is no receipt or bill that identifies their value. Instead, you and your Bay Area wrongful death attorney will need to consider how you can present proof of these intangible losses.
Depending on the circumstances, you might receive as much in compensation for these intangible losses as you do for the loss of services and future income—or even more.
Our Wrongful Death Case Results Speak for Themselves
GJEL has established itself as the “go to” firm in California for wrongful death lawsuits. We understand what you will need to prove to be successful in your case, and we are skilled at tracking down the evidence needed to prevail.
Our skilled California wrongful death attorneys have years of experience negotiating favorable settlements for our clients that fully compensate them for their future economic losses as well as for their emotional distress.
No two cases are alike, and we can’t promise any result.
Nevertheless, we believe that the following settlements testify to our experience and skill in this field:
● $13.6 million jury verdict for wrongful death of a spouse
● $11.7 million award for a traffic wrongful death case
● $10.6 million settlement for a death caused by a defective product
● $10.8 million for a wrongful death caused by defective tires
● $4.5 million for a wrongful death caused by a car accident
● $4 million verdict for the wrongful death of a child
These are only some of our favorable results we have obtained on behalf of our clients. Confidentiality agreements prevent us from discussing others, but you can view a larger list of our wrongful death settlements here.
Factors that Might Reduce Your Wrongful Death Settlement Amount
In some situations, you might receive less than you expect in a wrongful death settlement, but there are some easy-to-understand reasons for this.
For example, your loved one might have contributed to their own accident. Not every case is black and white, and it is possible for victims to be negligent.
As an example: your loved one might not have used a turn signal while riding a bicycle. A commercial truck following your loved one might have run straight into them because the truck driver was not expecting your loved one to stop.
In this situation, your loved one bears some of the blame for the collision that killed them. As a result, the amount you receive in a settlement will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if you estimate that you would receive $3 million in a settlement but your loved one was 50% at fault for the accident, then you will likely receive only $1.5 million.
Other reasons you receive a smaller settlement include:
● You wait too long. California gives family members only two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death action. If you miss this deadline, you can expect to receive no money in a settlement.
● You don’t hire an experienced attorney. Wrongful death lawsuits are not like other cases, presenting unique legal and factual hurdles. You need someone experienced in this field who understands the law from top to bottom in order to maximize the amount you receive.
Are Wrongful Death Settlements Taxed?
The taxation of the award depends greatly on where you’re located and the circumstances of the recovery.
Click here to read our full article on whether or not Wrongful Death cases are taxable in California.
Why Wrongful Death Settlement Calculators Don’t Work
Although you may be tempted to use a wrongful death settlement calculator, you will find that they do not work and will not be accurate in estimating a potential settlement.
This is because the factors of each case are unique such as who might be liable to pay the damages, what the deceased party earned, and more.
These wrongful death settlement and recovery calculators are typically just used to get your contact information.
Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts
The amount you may recover depends greatly on the facts of your case. GJEL has recovered over $950 Million dollars for our clients, but past performance do not predict a future outcome. To learn more about typical wrongful death settlement amounts read our full article here.
How a settlement is distributed after a Wrongful Death case is reserved for parties that have standing. Learn more about who is entitled to a wrongful death settlement here.
Should You Settle Your Case or Go To Trial?
Unfortunately this answer depends on the facts of your case. Many times insurance companies will try to settle a case for less than it’s worth. If they cannot agree on fair compensation we will take the case to trial.
Talk to our Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
After the death of a loved one, it is normal to feel depressed, angry, and worried about your future. This is where we come in.
At GJEL, our Northern California wrongful death attorneys will take over the case and begin building a claim for compensation, allowing you to spend time with your family. Instead of worrying about court deadlines and insurance adjuster forms, you can focus on what matters most: your loved ones and the memories of your lost love.
To start the process, please reach out to us today. We are only a phone call away and are happy to answer any questions that you have. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call 1-866-290-1656 or submit an online message.