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What's a wrongful death claim worth?

How to determine the value of your loved one's wrongful death lawsuit

wrongful death claim worth

A wrongful death claim arises when someone dies as a result of the negligence of another. Usually, the way a death occurs does not effect the value of a wrongful death claim, except in cases of severe recklessness or bad conduct on the part of the person who caused the death. For instance, if a person died in a motor vehicle accident, the value of their claim would be the same as if the same person died due to medical malpractice. However, there are factors that can impact the value of a case which are unrelated to whether the death was caused by another motorist, a physician at a hospital, or the manufacturer of a dangerous product.

Key factors in determining whether a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed

In order to succeed in a wrongful death claim, you must be able to prove that a duty of care to the decedent existed and that because another party failed to fulfill this duty, the decedent was killed.

Here are some examples of a duty being breached, which causes harm to another person and gives rise to a wrongful death claim.

How the death was caused does not usually affect the value of a wrongful death lawsuit. However, sometimes, if it can be proven that the death was the result of conduct which was reckless, unusually dangerous, criminal, etc.. In these cases, the value of a wrongful death claim can increase.

Factors in determining the value of a wrongful death lawsuit

Here are factors that need to be considered in valuing a wrongful death claim:

  1. Was the death solely the fault of other parties or was the decedent partially at fault as well?
    1. Was the decedent's vehicle rear ended while properly stopped at a red light, or was the decedent at a total stop in the middle of a high speed freeway for no apparent reason?
    2. Did the airbag deploy improperly and fail to protect the driver, or was the failure due in part to the operator failing to wear his seatbelt?
    3. Did the tire blow out because it was manufactured improperly, or because the sidewall was damaged by the operator striking a curb just before the tire blew out?
  2. Was the decedent married and did they have any minor dependents?
  3. What is the amount of the earnings that will be lost by the decedent due to their death?
    1. The value of benefits from work should be included
  4. Did the decedent survive and consciously suffer pain for a period of time before they died?
    1. How extreme was their pain?
    2. How long did their pain last?
  5. Funeral and other expenses related to the death and burial of the decedent.
    1. Cost of funeral
    2. Medical bills incurred to save life

Key factors which can increase the value of a wrongful death claim

Here are some of the factors in a wrongful death claim which can increase its value:

Key factors which can decrease the value of a wrongful death claim

Here are some factors in a wrongful death claim which can decrease its value

Speak with a Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your loved one died due to someone else's negligence, meet with an experienced wrongful death lawyer to learn more about how the claim should be handled, what it's potential value is, how long it will take to pursue, etc. The sooner you retain a pa wrongful death lawyer to review the circumstances surrounding the loss of your loved one, the fresher the evidence in their case will be.

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