Updated on June 24th, 2019
Wrongful death is typically a death that occurs as a result of someone’s negligence such as failure, incompetence, carelessness or failure. For instance, someone who is crossing a street and then killed by a drunk driver may be termed as wrongful death victim. When such a death occurs, a loved one of the departed can file a wrongful death lawsuit on the departed behalf. These types of lawsuits that carry no criminal charge may assist the relative of the departed person in recuperating losses for suffering and pain, monetary losses, personal relationship, medical bills, and all the other incurred costs.
When a wrongful death occurs, it’s usually traumatic not only to the family members of the victim but also their friends.
The next of kin of the departed person may include children, parents, spouses and any other person who is qualified to file the claim. However, minors may require an adult who has legal guardianship to help them manage the lawsuit on their behalf. Other next of kin such as stepparents, grandparents, and other dependents may also be allowed by other states to file a lawsuit. If you think you have a legitimate wrongful death lawsuit, it’s very important to first discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer who will then assist you to collect vital evidence and help you to understand the law fully.
How Wrongful Death Settlements Are Determined
Although placing a monetary value on an individual is a bit challenging, certain factors may help determine the amount of money to be paid. Some of these factors include
- The diseased earning capacity.
- The age of the departed person.
- The departed state of health at the time of death.
- The departed income at the time of death.
- Medical bills and other expenses incurred by the departed.
- Value of lost benefits such as health insurance and pension among others.
- The departed training and education.
However, these entire amounts must be supported by evidence. Expert witnesses and economists can look at the departed person and consider the various circumstances that can help them to determine this. Wrongful death lawsuits are usually paid by the insurance companies who provided the coverage for the entity of person for whom the wrongful death is being blamed on. However, it’s important to know that insurance companies have a policy limit above which they will not pay. If the responsible party does not have enough policy then they will be personally liable for any settlement amount and maybe the legal fees that are accrued during the process.
But how long does a wrongful death case takes? Well, the majority of wrongful death cases are usually settled before trial. In fact, some are even settled before filing the lawsuit. However, it’s not uncommon for such a case to take several years to come to the conclusion. It’s, therefore, important to know the amount of time that you may have to commit to seeing the case to the end. Once all the cases are handled on contingent fees, you should know the amount of money that you need to retain a lawyer. The lawyer’s fees are always a percentage of money that’s recovered. However, since the attorney covers all the costs of pursuing the case, you don’t have to go into your pocket for any cost.
What If You Disagree With The Settlement?
If you don’t agree with the settlement, you can go on with the trail and prove the amount of damages and the right of damages. However, this can be a bit risky since you do not know whether you’ll be paid for all the losses that you are seeking. But if you are successful, you’ll recover more than the settlement. Since it can be difficult to file a wrongful case, it’s very important to act quickly to ensure that you are compensated. This will not only give you peace of mind, but you’ll also feel that your loved one has gotten justice.