How Much is a Wrongful Death Claim Worth?

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you might be wondering about filing a wrongful death claim. When a loved one dies, financial responsibilities remain. Oftentimes the death leaves a family in a dire financial situation. Of course, if the main breadwinner in the family dies, he or she will no longer be able to provide financially. Surviving family members might also suffer financially because of missed work.

There is no way to guarantee the exact amount you will be able to recover from a wrongful death claim. Each case is unique and depends on a variety of factors. However, understanding how a wrongful death claim works can ease the process and help you determine the best course of action for your family.

Causes of Wrongful Death

There are many reasons why a wrongful death suit might be the appropriate course of action for a loved one to take following a death. Some examples include:

  • Deliberate attack against the decedent
  • Defective product
  • Medical malpractice
  • Auto/truck accident
  • Occupational hazard/workplace negligence
  • Birth injury
  • Premises accident

Of course, not every death related to these causes will qualify for a wrongful death claim. An experienced California personal injury attorney can review your case and help you determine whether you should pursue damages.

Who Can File the Wrongful Death Claim?

Only certain family members are eligible to file a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies. These members include the decedent’s spouse or domestic partner, or financially dependent persons, such as children or stepchildren. Parents and siblings can file the suit if the decedent has no surviving spouse, partner or children.

How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Case?

Proving the wrongful death can be complex. Even cases that might seem obvious will require investigation and research. Your attorney must be able to prove that the death was caused by the defendant’s negligence. To have a wrongful death case, you will have to prove the following:

  1. Negligence: The death was caused, in part or in whole, by the reckless or negligent actions of the defendant.
  2. Breach of duty: The defendant owed a duty to the decedent, and they breached that duty by their negligence. For instance, in a fatal auto accident, the defendant had a duty to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. If the driver was speeding or driving under the influence, they breached that duty.
  3. Causation: You must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the wrongful death.
  4. Damages: You will then have to determine the damages that have resulted from the death.

Economic Damages

The first consideration in economic damages is the decedent’s lost wages. This number is determined by multiple factors. What occupation did they have, and what was their financial contribution to the family? What future earning prospects did they have in their line of work?

Other economic damages include those expenses that incurred because of the negligence or misconduct that led to the wrongful death. These include costs such as hospital bills, funeral expenses and expenses related to managing the decedent’s estate.

Noneconomic Damages

Another aspect of a wrongful death suit is noneconomic damages. These can include loss of love and companionship, and loss of physical support. Additionally, you might be able to seek compensation for loss of guardianship and guidance and psychological pain and suffering. If the decedent suffered prior to their death, you could also seek damages for the decedent’s pain and suffering. This claim would need to be verified by an expert witness.

If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, you need to seek the help of an experienced California wrongful death attorney. Your attorney will understand the rules and intricacies of the law, so they will be able to determine how to go about proving your case. Your attorney can review your case and give you a realistic idea of the compensation you can seek.

“If you have lost a loved one due to negligence, you should consider having your case reviewed by an experienced wrongful death attorney,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have lost a loved one and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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