​How Much Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

Losing a close loved one is never an easy event to cope with. And when they lose their lives in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, the loss becomes even more devastating for surviving family members – especially spouses and children.

When negligent motor vehicle drivers, premises owners, and others behave recklessly or carelessly and cause an fatal accident, you can hold the at-fault party and their insurance company accountable.

Although no amount of money can ever take the place of a deceased loved one, it can help to bring about closure and justice for yourself and other surviving family members.

If you recently lost a loved one in an accident that a negligent individual or entity caused, consult a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer near you as quickly as possible.

Your lawyer can thoroughly investigate your loved one’s accident and determine your eligibility for pursuing wrongful death damages. Your lawyer may then file a wrongful death claim with the appropriate insurance company and a pursue settlement or litigate your case in court.

Since every wrongful death claim is different, there is no such thing as an average wrongful death settlement or litigation result. Instead, a claimant will recover case-specific monetary compensation.

In any event, your lawyer will be your advocate throughout the process and can pursue the maximum compensation necessary for the justice and closure you deserve.

Average Wrongful Death Settlement

A surviving family member may be eligible to start a wrongful death claim if they lose a loved one due to someone else’s careless, reckless, negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful act.

Some of the most common examples of accidents that result from others’ wrongful acts include:

If you lost a loved one in one of these accidents that resulted from another person’s careless, reckless, or intentional act, you may have legal options that you can consider.

First, consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer near you who can explore your potential legal options and file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Your lawyer can also handle all negotiations with insurance company adjusters and any litigation proceedings in your case.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit?

Several categories of individuals may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against an at-fault individual or entity – or the insurance company for that individual/entity. The surviving family members and others who may be eligible to assert a wrongful death claim or lawsuit depend primarily on the province where the occurrence happened.

Surviving family members who can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit include:

  • Surviving spouse 
  • Adult interdependent partner
  • Sibling
  • Mother
  • Father 
  • Children

A knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in your case, depending on the circumstances. If you are, your lawyer can handle every step of the process, including all oral and written communications with insurance company representatives.

However, if the insurance company does not make you a fair settlement offer in your case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court.

Successfully Proving a Wrongful Death Case

In a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the individual filing the claim, or the claimant, has the sole legal burden of proof. On the other hand, the at-fault individual or entity does not prove anything in the case.

First, the wrongful death claimant must establish that the other party owed them a legal duty of care. For example, in the context of a fatal motor vehicle accident, drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and responsibly at all times and to obey all traffic laws and regulations.

Next, the wrongful death claimant must legally show that the other party somehow violated their legal duty of care.

For instance, in a motor vehicle crash, the at-fault driver must ordinarily have violated one or more traffic laws, such as by failing to yield the right-of-way to another driver or a pedestrian, speeding, or operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Additionally, the wrongful death claimant must establish that as a direct and foreseeable result of the other party’s negligence, both the fatal accident and the decedent’s untimely death occurred.

When determining this causal relationship, a wrongful death lawyer can retain an expert accident reconstructionist who can visit the scene of the occurrence, review video footage (if available), review police diagrams and speak with eyewitnesses.

The accident reconstructionist can then draft a report about how the accident likely happened and who was responsible. Moreover, if the wrongful death case proceeds to litigation, the accident reconstructionist can testify at a discovery deposition – or as a witness in court during a civil jury trial.

A wrongful death lawyer can retain the necessary experts who can satisfy the required legal burden of proof in your case. That way, you will be eligible to pursue monetary recovery in the case.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit

While you are grieving the loss of your deceased loved one, a wrongful death lawyer can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf.

Wrongful Death in a Car Accident

To support a wrongful death claim, your lawyer can first gather several types of documents, including lost income documentation, photographs of property damage, injury photographs, video footage of the accident, and a copy of the decedent’s death certificate.

Your lawyer can then compile all these documents into a complete settlement demand package and forward it to the insurance company for the at-fault party.

Once the insurance company receives these documents, they will determine whether to accept fault for the accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, then settlement negotiations may begin in the case. Even in a wrongful death claim, insurance companies want to pay out as little compensation as possible to claimants.

However, a wrongful death lawyer in your area can aggressively advocate for you during settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives. If the insurance company still refuses to offer you fair monetary recovery, then your lawyer may threaten the insurance company with a wrongful death lawsuit in the court system.

Litigation in a wrongful death case begins when a lawyer files a lawsuit in court. However, even after starting the litigation process in the court system, the case may still resolve at some point in time.

In fact, most wrongful death claims settle at some point along the way since prolonged litigation and civil jury trials can be extremely costly and time-consuming for everyone involved in the case.

During litigation, the court will establish dates and deadlines for certain milestones, including discovery. During the discovery phase of wrongful death litigation, the parties will answer written Interrogatories.

Additionally, the defence lawyer for the insurance company may take the wrongful death claimant’s deposition. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can prepare you for your deposition so that you can anticipate the questions that the defence lawyer is likely to ask.

If the parties do not settle their wrongful death case out of court, then they may take their case to a civil jury trial that takes place in court. During a wrongful death trial, your lawyer can introduce various pieces of evidence, along with witness testimony, to successfully prove the different legal elements of your case.

A jury will then decide on the amount of monetary compensation to award you. Instead of taking your case to a civil jury trial, you can pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as arbitration or mediation, to successfully resolve your case out of court.

For example, during a binding arbitration hearing, the parties take their case to an arbitration proceeding before a neutral arbitrator instead of trying their case in front of a jury.

The arbitrator handling the case then reviews all available evidence, listens to the testimony, and decides how much monetary compensation to award to the wrongful death claimant.

On the other hand, during wrongful death mediation, the parties meet with a third-party mediator who helps facilitate ongoing settlement discussions. The mediator may also work to find common ground between the parties and help them resolve the case fairly.

Your wrongful death lawyer can put all available legal options on the table for you to consider and explain the pros and cons of each.

Potential Wrongful Death Monetary Compensation

In a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the claimant can receive various monetary damages, depending on the circumstances.

The total amount of a wrongful death settlement or litigation award will usually depend on the extent to which surviving family members relied on the decedent’s income and household services for continued support.

First, a wrongful death claimant may recover monetary compensation for bereavement. For example, under the Fatal Accidents Act in Alberta, a living child may recover $49,000, while surviving parents may claim $82,000 (to be divided equally if both of the decedent’s parents are still alive).

Also, if the claimant and other family members relied on the deceased individual for ongoing financial support, the claimant can recover compensation for the loss of the decedent’s future earnings.

They can also pursue compensation for the loss of the decedent’s household services, including compensation for home maintenance, child care, and meal preparation.

A wrongful death lawyer in your area will do everything they can to maximize the total compensation you receive in your case. In addition to pursuing a favourable settlement offer, your lawyer may file a lawsuit in the court system and aggressively litigate your case to a conclusion if the insurance company is uncooperative.

Speak to a Wrongful Death Lawyer Right Away

Although no amount of money, however large, can take the place of a deceased loved one, a favourable monetary settlement or litigation result can bring about a sense of justice and closure for surviving family members in a wrongful death case.

The primary goal of a wrongful death lawyer is to maximize your overall monetary award and recover the total financial compensation you truly deserve.

Ordinarily, a surviving family member must bring a wrongful death claim or file a lawsuit within two years of the wrongful act which caused the deceased individual’s untimely death.

If a wrongful death claimant does not file their lawsuit on time, the court will promptly dismiss that lawsuit and prevent recovery of monetary damages in the case.

Michael Hoosein, Attorney for Wrongful Death
Michael Hoosein, Wrongful Death Lawyer

A wrongful death lawyer can start advocating for you right away while you and your family members grieve the untimely loss of your loved one. Specifically, your lawyer can gather the documents necessary to support your claim and assemble those documents into a complete settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster to review.

Additionally, a lawyer can handle all settlement negotiations for you and, if necessary, litigate your wrongful death lawsuit to a conclusion in the court system. Every step of the way, your lawyer will aggressively advocate for your legal interests, answer all of your questions, and work to maximize the total compensation award you receive in your case.

Many families worry about adding to their financial burden by consulting a personal injury lawyer, though this is a mistaken concern. Consultations are free, and a reliable lawyer will assess your rights at no cost. There is also no obligation to hire the lawyer after a consultation.

If you decide to hire the lawyer, you will pay no fees until they obtain compensation for you. This is a win-win situation for your family, so reach out for help today.

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