How to Calculate Wrongful Death Compensation

Losses stemming from wrongful death may be different than those from a personal injury claim. For a grieving family in Southampton, the impact of a loved one’s death goes far beyond expenses incurred.

But, of course, there is the potential for the family to be saddled with a significant financial burden because of a loved one’s untimely death. Thus, when filing a wrongful death claim, it’s important to understand the full extent of damages.

Compensation for Medical Costs in a Wrongful Death Case

Damages for medical expenses are probably the easiest to calculate. The family would need to assemble all bills, statements and receipts that reflect medical care and treatment stemming from the fatal accident.

The following are just some examples of medical costs that could be included in a wrongful death claim:

  • ambulance fees;
  • hospitalization;
  • surgery; and
  • medication.


There are some cases where a loved one was treated for an extensive period of time prior to death, such as in an intensive care unit for several weeks. It doesn’t matter for how long medical treatment was received prior to passing; any costs related to the accident that eventually took a loved one’s life may be included.

Another financial component that could be included in a wrongful death claim is reasonable funeral expenses.

Compensation for Lost Wages in a Wrongful Death Case

When a loved one contributed financially to the household, that loss of income can be substantial. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to recover anticipated earnings up to the time of the loved one’s life expectancy, or expected retirement age. There are many different factors that will impact calculations for lost income.

Along with the wages lost because of the decedent’s death, it might even be possible to recover compensation for lost benefits:

  • health insurance;
  • a pension; or
  • retirement plan.

Compensation for Psychological Losses in a Wrongful Death Case

This is one of the unique aspects to a wrongful death case, the loss a family experiences psychologically. Determining the value of this impact is challenging, which is why it’s a good idea to have assistance from an attorney.

Spouses may be entitled to compensation that addresses the loss of companionship, aid, and support. For children this may include the loss of training, guidance, advice and nurturing.

These types of damages depend on the relationship of the deceased and the surviving family member. An attorney can help establish a figure that the claim might seek. But of course that will be up to a judge or jury to decide the final figure if you are unable to reach a settlement prior to trial.

Disbursement of Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Calculating wrongful death compensation for economic losses is separate than deciding how they are disbursed. It’s based on priority under intestate laws. First in line to recover wrongful death damages is a spouse. When there are children, the spouse receives half the estate plus $30,000. The remaining amount is split evenly between the children.

When there isn’t a spouse and only children, the children would receive the settlement. Beyond this it could go to the parents, siblings and possibly other dependents.

If you lost a loved one in an accident in Southampton, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help evaluate the damages you and your family have suffered and pursue fair compensation. Call us at 215-642-2335 or fill out our contact form.