When a loved one dies, it's a tragedy for everyone involved, but when the death was a terrible accident caused by someone else — a product, a company, etc. — it can seem even more cruel. As you and your family struggle to cope with the loss of your loved one, you shouldn't have to stress over financial matters. This is why wrongful death settlements exist, but before you start seeking a fair settlement, check out these three facts you must know.
How Is The Settlement Determined?
If you get injured from a defective product, you can sue the manufacturer for a settlement to pay medical bill, cover lost income and anything else to make you whole again. However, if that defective product kills someone, it's the family that needs financial assistance to be made whole again. Your attorney will work with the insurance carrier, defendant's attorney and anyone else to determine a fair settlement. Typically, the insurance carrier will offer an initial settlement, which is crafted using a formula that uses many variables, including your loved one's age, overall health, behavior, personality and income. This is used to estimate how much longer your loved one would have lived, and how much money they would have earned.
What Type of Money Can You Receive?
In most cases, in your wrongful death case is approved, you'll be awarded money to pay for medical bills related to the wrongful death and wage replacement for any money that was lost because the loved one was unable to work. However, you can also get future earnings. These are earnings your loved one would have earned had they not passed wrongfully. You may also be allowed to sue for potential inheritance loss. For example, if your loved one had a 401K, they may have had another 20 years to add funds, but because of their wrongful death, that money and any interest is lost. Last, you may be able to be awarded punitive damages if the wrongful death was caused by a malicious or grossly negligent problem.
Who Determines What Amount Is Fair?
Ideally, you should get an attorney to handle your wrongful death case because they are best skilled at negotiating a better settlement. Depending on the situation, your attorney, etc. the insurance carrier may offer a fair settlement, but in many cases, you must sue. In this case, a jury would likely be determining a fair amount. However, the judge has the ultimate power to override a jury's decision. They may do this if the jury is missing information. For example, if your loved one wasn't working at the time of their passing, the jury may award you a little settlement, but the judge may have additional information that shows your loved one has a steady work history and was likely to get another job.
No one should have to experience a sudden, unexpected loss, but wrongful death settlements can at least ease the financial burden you must face. If you are interested in pursuing a wrongful death case, or you want to know if you have a case, contact a wrongful death lawyer in your area today.