If you've ever experienced the loss of a loved one, you know the pain of saying goodbye. However, the consequences can also be financial. If you relied on this individual to help support the family and they die in a wrongful death, you may be able to get a settlement to help you continue to support your family, so you can grieve without the fear of not being able to afford your home, food or other necessities. Check out these four facts regarding wrongful death settlements.
Settlement Is Based on Financial Injury
When you win a personal injury settlement, it is designed to help pay for your medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, etc. However, when a loved one passes in a wrongful death case, the money isn't about just paying for medical bills. It's about helping the deceased's family continue to thrive. Therefore, the settlement is based on financial injury or how badly the passing will affect the financial security of the family. This may include medical expenses, but also future care, cost of physical damage, loss of earning capacity, etc. It can also include lost prospect of inheritance, such as a 401K.
Punitive Damages May Also Be Considered
The financial settlement is designed to help you and get you back where you were financially. However, in some cases, the judge may find that the company, person or whoever was responsible for the wrongful death performed malicious wrongdoing and purposely wanted to hurt someone or knew someone was likely to get hurt but didn't correct the issue. If this is the case, the judge may award you punitive damages. They are solely designed to punish the defended.
It's Determined With Many Factors
Your settlement is determined with many factors, such as age, pre-existing conditions, intelligence, behavior, personality, income etc. This gives the court a clear idea of the individual's health, so it can be determined if they would have died early due to poor health anyway. Similarly, they look at the loved one's personality and behavior to determine if they were likely to die early in a reckless accident. Last, the income is used to determine how much money your loved one would have earned in their life.
The Judge Can Override the Decision
In most wrongful death cases, there is a jury that listens to witnesses and testimony to make a decision on the settlement amount. However, the judge has the ultimate decision to override their settlement offer and often takes other factors into account. For example, if the loved one wasn't working at the time of death, the settlement from the jury may be low. However, if it turns out the deceased usually worked and this was abnormal, the judge may increase the settlement to reflect that.
When a family member dies, it can be devastating, especially if they were suddenly taken in a horrible preventable accident. If you are struggling to support your family now that your partner has passed due to a wrongful death, contact a wrongful death lawyer today, so you can get the financial settlement you need to continue to live.