Losing a loved one is incredibly traumatic. Many times, you may struggle with the loss of that loved one’s presence in your life: missing their support, their smile, and the little things that made them unique. If someone else’s carelessness or negligence caused your loved one’s death, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. While that claim will not bring your loved one back, it can help provide vital financial support that can help you through that difficult period.
How much can you sue for in a wrongful death claim? Contact an attorney to learn more about when you can file a wrongful death claim, what you can claim, and how much you may expect from your claim.
Every Wrongful Death Claim is Different
Many unique factors can contribute to each wrongful death claim. In order to fully assess how much compensation you may deserve for the loss of a loved one, talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney. In many cases, those varied factors can significantly impact the amount you can expect in compensation for the loss of a loved one. While a look at past wrongful death claims can give you a better idea of how much you could receive, you should always talk to an attorney to learn more about your specific claim.
The Factors that Contribute to Wrongful Death Claims
You lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions, and you know you have grounds for a wrongful death claim. What factors contribute to the compensation you can receive?
Factor #1: Who caused your loved one’s death?
While the amount you deserve in compensation for the loss of a loved one may not vary based on who caused your loved one’s death, the amount you can recover often does. Many entities carry insurance policies designed to provide financial protection in case their negligence causes an accident, including accidents that result in death. For example, most business owners will carry business liability insurance or property insurance that protects them if someone suffers an injury on the property. Most drivers carry liability insurance that will pay out a set amount when someone dies as a result of the accident caused by that driver.
Many insurance policies contain specific limits that will determine how much compensation the policy will pay out for an accident. If the party that caused your loved one’s death carries a high-limit policy, it may offer more compensation than a policy with lower limits. Talk to an attorney to learn more about how the specific limits of a policy can impact your claim.
Factor #2: Did multiple parties contribute to your loved one’s death?
If multiple parties contributed to the incident that caused your loved one’s death, you might have the right to recover compensation from each one. For example, in a car accident, you might have grounds to recover compensation from the driver who caused the accident. You might also, however, have the right to recover compensation from the manufacturer of a failed component, or from the employer of a driver on the clock at the time of the accident. Sometimes, if you can file for compensation against multiple parties, it can increase the settlement you receive for the loss of your loved one.
Factor #3: What expenses did the accident cause prior to your loved one’s death?
You can file a wrongful death claim even if your loved one did not die immediately of his injuries. If your loved one did not die immediately, it can cause significantly increased expenses. For example, if your loved one lingered in a coma for some time after the accident, you may have substantial medical bills from a long hospital stay. If your loved one suffered internal bleeding or organ damage, he may have undergone emergency surgery in an effort to treat his injuries.
If your loved one’s injuries led to his death, regardless of whether he died immediately, you may still have grounds for a personal injury claim. As part of that claim, you should include any medical expenses your family faced as a result of your loved one’s accident: ambulance transport, treatment in the emergency room, emergency procedures, and hospitalization, for example.
Factor #4: What financial losses did your loved one’s death cause for your family?
Following the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, your family may suffer a number of expenses. Not only do you have to contend with your loved one’s final medical expenses, which can prove incredibly costly, you may need to manage funeral and burial expenses, which can add up quickly. The average funeral cost runs between $7000 and $12000, which can create an incredible strain on your family’s finances. Even if you opt for cremation or inexpensive funeral options, you may still spend thousands of dollars unexpectedly.
In addition to final expenses for your loved one, your family may suffer multiple ongoing financial losses.
The Loss of Your Loved One’s Income
The loss of the income from the primary breadwinner in your family can cause immense financial pressure. The surviving spouse in a marriage where the other partner was the primary breadwinner may need to go on to a new job or go back to work after some time off. The loss of a parent can leave children struggling with the overall lack of financial support, even as young adults. If you relied on your loved one’s income, you can include compensation for that lost income as part of a wrongful death claim. While a wrongful death claim will not provide permanent support for your family, it can give you enough compensation to start to rebuild your lives.
The Loss of Services Your Loved One Performed
In addition to the income your loved one provided for the family, he may have provided many services for the family. In some cases, the value of those services may rise much higher than your loved one’s actual income. For example, your loved one may have taken care of childcare responsibilities, managed senior care responsibilities for aging parents, or taken care of repairs to your home and vehicles. The cost of those services can add up quickly, particularly if your family needs to replace those services by hiring a professional. By calculating those financial losses, you can include financial compensation for them as part of your wrongful death claim.
Other Factors to Consider in Wrongful Death Claims
Many wrongful death claims include not only the tangible financial losses associated with the loss of a loved one, but also financial compensation for the loss of your loved one’s presence in your life. Those funds may seem like poor compensation for the loss of your loved one’s companionship, presence, and support. They can, however, offer much-needed funds that will help you rebuild your life. Talk to an attorney about how to incorporate that loss of companionship, advice, or support as part of your wrongful death claim.
Did you lose a loved one in an accident due to another party’s negligence? An attorney can help. Contact Cambre & Associates, LLC today to learn more about your legal right to compensation in a wrongful death claim.