What is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?
Determining Value is What the Jury Would Award for Your Loss
The estimate for what a case is worth is based on a wide variety of factors. Most wrongful death cases are resolved out of court, but when a claim does not work and a lawsuit is the only answer, a jury can estimate the value of the case. The jury will calculate the following:
- Financial Losses: How much would the deceased victim have contributed to the family over the next number of years? The higher the victim’s wages or salary was, or was reasonably expected to be in the future, the higher these financial losses are. The loss of a financial provider is hard on a family with children or a spouse who were being financially supported by the deceased;
- Mental Anguish: What mental anguish does the spouse or child have to live through during the months and years following the death of the loved one? This number can be difficult to put a price tag on, and can account for a large sum of compensation;
- Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium refers to the loss of love and companionship that the surviving family members experience because of their loved one’s death. Loss of consortium is the greatest for families with young children;
- Punitive Damages: If the conduct of the defendant was willful or negligent, punitive damages may be awarded; and
- Loss of Inheritance: represents the amount of money that a person would have built up in their estate to leave to their children, assuming they lived a full life and died of natural causes.
Medical Bills and Pain and Suffering
Medical bills, if there were any, will be added to potential pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is generally calculated by multiplying the sum of the medical bills by five, and this amount would go to the heirs if the deceased had a will. If the deceased did not have a will, this amount would be distributed under probate laws. However, damages awarded are not subject to the deceased’s debts, according to statute 71.011.
The Value of a Life
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has the value of an American’s life set at $6 million. The Food and Drug Administration’s estimate is $7.9 million. The Environmental Protection Agency has that number at $9.1 million. No monetary amount can even begin to make up for the loss of a loved one, however. Money simply cannot replace the companionship, support, and love of a deceased parent, child, or spouse. Financial compensation can, however, help provide for young children when a parent has been taken from them, and financial support can pay for medical bills incurred by the incident.
Contact the Houston Wrongful Death Attorneys of Michael P. Fleming Today
If a loved one was killed because of a careless driver, or at work and the employer either did not have workers’ compensation insurance or displayed egregious negligence, you are owed wrongful death damages. Contact the Houston law offices of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. today 713-221-6800.