How Is Death Compensation Calculated?

A lit memorial candle after a wrongful death with white flowers in the background.

Anyone who has experienced a wrongful death lawsuit understands that it is, unfortunately, one of the most difficult types of lawsuits to be involved in. While you are mourning the tragic and unexpected loss of a loved one, you must also endure the strenuous requirements of the legal system. Despite how tough a wrongful death lawsuit may be, our wrongful death attorneys at Bachus & Schanker are tougher, and we are here to get you through this difficult time. Our attorneys can guide you through the entire process and ensure you understand nuances, including how wrongful death compensation is calculated. 

How does your attorney calculate your awards and settlements? 

The simplest way to understand how wrongful death settlements are calculated is that they are calculated based on the harm caused to both the victim of the incident and the survivors of the victim. Usually, a settlement is reached once both parties agree upon a negotiated amount based on the damages. The most important things to consider when determining damages are non-economic and economic damages. 

Non-economic damages

Non-monetary damages, also known as non-economic damages, consist of any non-financial losses the plaintiff has endured as a result of the accident. The most commonly allocated non-economic damages used to determine a settlement value consist of: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship

Economic damages

Monetary loss, also known as economic damages, consists of the plaintiff’s financial losses that arise from the wrongful death. The most common economic damages consist of: 

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost income (past and future)
  • Property damages
  • Loss of employment
  • Domestic services

If you believe you have lost a loved one as a result of wrongful death, contact Bachus & Schanker today for a free consultation.

What do you need to prove a wrongful death claim? 

Establishing negligence is essential to have a successful wrongful death lawsuit. Negligence can be defined as “the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in injury or property damage to another.” In order to prove that the defendant was negligent and, as a result, caused the wrongful death, the plaintiff is required to establish the elements of negligence, which consist of: 

  1. A duty of care is owed by the defendant to the plaintiff
  2. A breach of that duty has occurred
  3. A plaintiff has suffered an injury because of that breach of duty
  4. Proof that the defendant’s breach of duty was the cause of the injury. You often find this defined as a proximate cause. 
  5. Damages have occurred as a result of the defendant’s negligent actions

If you can establish these elements of negligence, you will likely have a successful wrongful death lawsuit on your hands.

Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?

If you are a relative of the decedent, then it is likely you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The typical order in which a person may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit is: 

  • Spouse of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Heirs of the deceased

So, if you have any of these relations with the decedent, it’s important to contact a wrongful death attorney to discuss your potential claims. 

How much can you receive in a wrongful death settlement?

Like most lawsuits, the settlement amount is contingent on the elements of the case. In wrongful death lawsuits, however, there are certain factors that must be taken into consideration when determining the settlement amount, including: 

  • The decedent’s income at the time of their passing
  • The decedent’s level of education
  • The decedent’s dependents
  • The decedent’s income
  • The decedent’s age
  • The decedent’s health status prior to their death

How are settlements paid in wrongful death cases?

Typically, a wrongful death settlement is paid out to the parties in a lump sum, but it can also be set up in a structured settlement so the payment isn’t all received at once.

Can a wrongful death settlement be taxed?

It’s important to understand that, yes, a wrongful death settlement amount can be taxed. Though this may seem frustrating, this is because it is considered taxable income and thus is subject to being taxed. 

Contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible

A wrongful death attorney reviewing paperwork with their client.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be particularly difficult, making it important to have a strong legal representative in your corner as soon as you can. Not only do our attorneys have extensive experience in this field, but Kyle Bachus has a personal connection to this type of tragedy, making him an excellent representative of you and your loved one.

The wrongful death attorneys at Bachus & Schanker are here to help guide you through this emotional time and are eager to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for the loss of your loved one. 

Contact our wrongful death attorneys for assistance today!


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