How Are Wrongful Death Benefits Calculated?
Just about any kind of accident can lead to a wrongful death, or a fatality caused by another party’s negligence. It could be a car accident, a motorcycle wreck, or someone falling down a flight of stairs. Whenever someone suffers a catastrophic injury, they could eventually succumb.
The personal injury attorneys with the Jones Law Group will be here for you if you’ve suffered the tragic loss of a loved one due to the negligence of someone else. We will work passionately to help you obtain the compensation that you have coming. While no amount of money will ever replace your terrible loss, it can hold those responsible for your tragedy accountable.
What are Wrongful Death Damages?
Whenever someone is hurt in an accident that’s someone else’s fault, they can pursue compensation for the “damages,” or monetary losses, they’ve incurred. These include medical bills, lost wages and others.
If a person dies due to negligence, the types of damages their family members can pursue are different. These include the loss of companionship, grief and mental anguish, and the loss of financial support of the deceased. If the parent of a child passes away, an attorney representing the child may be able to pursue compensation for the loss of parental guidance.
In Florida, however, the court system also allows family members to sue for punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant for their negligence. A jury will typically award punitive damages if some sort of gross negligence or intentional misconduct resulted in the death. For example, when someone chooses to drive while intoxicated and causes a fatal wreck, that could lead to punitive damages. These are rarely awarded, however.
Who is Able to Recover Wrongful Death Damages?
Florida law determines which family members will be eligible to receive compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. The first will be the spouse, followed by the children, parents and then other members of the family, such as siblings.
However, there are some instances where eligibility might not be clear cut. A wrongful death attorney can help clear up any confusion that may exist.
Types of Damages You May be Able to Recover on Your Loved One’s Behalf
A wrongful death case can result in both economic as well as non-economic damages. Economic (also known as monetary) damages are tangible. These include funeral costs, medical expenses the victim incurred before passing away, as well as lost wages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering of the surviving family members, as well as pain and suffering the victim likely experienced before they died.
Damages could include future lost earnings the deceased may have been able to provide to the family, as well as emotional support the surviving family members lost.
Calculating Your Loved One’s Damages
There is no set-in-stone method of determining how much money the family members of a wrongful death victim may be able to obtain. There are several different factors that must be considered, and every case is different.
This is one of the many reasons why you’re going to need the help of an attorney who has a great deal of experience in calculating wrongful death damages. Here are just a few of the factors that go into a calculation.
- The likely amount of future income the deceased may have earned had they survived.
- The value of any benefits associated with their employment, such as retirement account contributions, bonuses and others.
- The value of the services the deceased provided around the home, such as chores, repairs and more.
There is also the matter of contributory negligence that sometimes has to be taken into account. The deceased may have played some role in causing the accident that took their life.
Suppose, for example, that a car wreck led to the victim’s death. After an investigation, it’s determined that the deceased was 30% responsible. That means any 30% of any compensation the family eventually receives will be subtracted. In Florida, however, the family could still obtain compensation even if 90% of the blame is attributed to the deceased. They would receive 10% of their wrongful death damages.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?
Again, no amount of money will ever be able to come close to making up for the horrible loss you’ve suffered. But if you are planning to pursue justice for your loved one, you’re going to need the help of a skilled, seasoned wrongful death attorney.
Jones Law Group has a team of such attorneys. We will make sure your rights are always protected, and we’ll help you avoid some of the mistakes that plaintiffs in these kinds of cases can make. One of the biggest, for instance, is talking to an insurance company adjuster. This is an extremely intelligent professional who will try to trip you up. And they may ultimately have you admitting that you believe the accident was your lost loved one’s fault. If that happens, you’ll have no chance to obtain compensation.
Also, an attorney can perform an investigation into the accident, uncovering the evidence needed to make your case as strong as possible. This may, for example, include finding surveillance video that caught footage of the accident, or obtaining phone records of a driver who was texting or talking, and caused the wreck as a result.
Contact Jones Law Group, Wrongful Death Personal Injury Attorneys
At the Jones Law Group, we have the resources it takes to conduct detailed investigations. We are also skilled negotiators, and know how to convince an insurance company to make a fair settlement offer. There are, however, some instances where that offer isn’t forthcoming. If that happens, we’ll be more than ready to prove your case in a court of law. We oftentimes help our clients receive more compensation than they would have obtained through a settlement.