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Home > Average Wrongful Death Settlement

Average Wrongful Death Settlement

man in suit upset of wrongful death paperwork in front of him

Losing a loved one is never easy, but when someone else’s negligence caused their death, the loss can feel even more devastating. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help ease the financial burden and provide a sense of justice and closure. Pennsylvania’s average wrongful death settlement is between $1 million and $1.5 million, depending on the case’s specific circumstances.

If you have lost a loved one because of another party’s negligent or wrongful actions in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. We understand your immense grief and challenges and will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about typical wrongful death settlements in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Factors That Impact Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts

What is the average settlement for wrongful death? The value of a wrongful death lawsuit average settlement can vary significantly from case to case as numerous factors come into play. Understanding these key elements can help you understand what to expect in pursuing justice and compensation. Some of the most influential factors include:

  • The deceased’s age, health, income, and occupation: Settlements tend to be higher for cases involving younger, healthier victims with higher earning potential and more significant career responsibilities.
  • The relationship between the deceased and the surviving claimants: If the victim was the primary breadwinner, their dependents might be entitled to greater compensation for the loss of financial support and the emotional impact of losing a provider.
  • The nature and extent of the defendant’s wrongdoing: Cases involving intentional harm or gross negligence may result in larger payouts than those based on ordinary negligence.
  • Applicable state laws and damage caps: Local legislation and limits on certain damages, such as non-economic or punitive damages, can significantly impact the potential settlement amount. For instance, Pennsylvania caps punitive damages at two times the compensatory damages. Meanwhile, New Jersey does not allow beneficiaries to recover emotional damages in wrongful death lawsuits.
  • The extent of the available insurance coverage: The policy limits of the applicable insurance coverage held by the responsible party generally dictate the amount of funds available for a settlement.
  • The choice between settlement and jury verdict: Settlements are more common and typically offer greater privacy, lower costs, and faster resolution but may involve compromises. Jury verdicts can be more unpredictable and emotionally taxing but may result in higher awards if successful.

While these factors offer a general framework for assessing the value of a wrongful death case, it’s crucial to remember that each situation is unique. The best way to better understand your case’s potential is to consult a seasoned wrongful death attorney who can evaluate the details and provide personalized guidance.

How To Maximize Your Wrongful Death Settlement Amount

To increase your chances of securing a substantial wrongful death settlement, take the following steps:

  • Hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to guide you through the process and fight for maximum compensation.
  • Preserve evidence, document damages, and build a strong case demonstrating the severity of losses and the defendant’s fault.
  • Identify all available insurance coverage, as higher limits may increase settlement potential.
  • Be patient during negotiations and avoid accepting the first offer if it is unfair.

Maximizing your settlement requires legal expertise, thorough preparation, and strategic negotiation. Working with a skilled attorney can help you build a strong case and secure the highest possible wrongful death compensation.

How To Calculate Wrongful Death Damages

Damages in a wrongful death case may include:

  • Economic damages: Medical expenses related to the fatal injury, funeral and burial costs, and the deceased’s lost future income and benefits
  • Non-economic damages: Emotional distress, loss of guidance and support, and loss of consortium

To calculate the value of a wrongful death claim, attorneys often combine concrete financial losses with more subjective factors, such as the emotional impact on the family. Economic damages are typically easier to quantify as they involve tangible expenses and losses. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, may require expert testimony and a careful analysis of the relationship between the deceased and their loved ones.

The deceased’s share of fault for the incident could affect the final settlement amount. Pennsylvania and New Jersey follow modified comparative negligence rules, which means that if the deceased is partially at fault for their death, the settlement amount may be reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if the deceased is determined to be more than 50 percent at fault, their family may be barred from recovering any damages.

Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death damages are distributed to the deceased’s beneficiaries in the proportion they would receive under the state’s intestacy rules. The surviving spouse and children have the first claim to the settlement. The victim’s parents may recover damages if the deceased had no surviving spouse or child.

If the deceased has no surviving spouse, child, or parent, the personal representative can bring an action to recover certain economic damages, such as medical, funeral, and administration expenses.

The distribution of settlement funds can be a complex process, particularly when there are multiple beneficiaries or disputes among family members. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help ensure the proper allocation of the settlement and that each beneficiary receives their fair share.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the estate’s personal representative. As stated in Pennsylvania law, the lawsuit is brought on behalf of the deceased’s beneficiaries, limited to their surviving spouse, children, or parents:

“…the right of action created by this section shall exist only for the benefit of the spouse, children or parents of the deceased, whether or not citizens or residents of this Commonwealth or elsewhere.”

If the estate’s personal representative does not file a wrongful death suit within six months of the death, then any person entitled to recover damages under the law can bring the action for all of the eligible beneficiaries.

If no eligible beneficiary exists to recover damages, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may bring an action to recover damages for reasonable medical, funeral, and administration expenses. It’s crucial to act quickly, as the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania is generally two years from the date of the person’s death.

To build a strong wrongful death case, your wrongful death attorney must gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult experts to establish liability and damages. This process can be time-consuming and emotionally challenging, but it’s essential for securing the compensation your family deserves.

Get the Compassionate Legal Help You Need From Cordisco & Saile

At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we understand that no settlement can erase the pain of losing a loved one. However, we also know that securing fair compensation can provide much-needed financial stability and a sense of justice during this difficult time. Our knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys have a track record of success in handling these complex cases, and we’re here to guide you through every step of the process.

When you choose our firm, you can expect personalized attention, compassionate support, and aggressive advocacy for your rights. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe any attorney fees unless we win your case. Contact us today at 215-642-2335 or online for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let our Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers fight for the compensation your family deserves.

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