The loss of a loved one brought on by the negligence of another person can be devastating to the surviving family members. In situations like these, bringing a wrongful death settlement can give the family the money they need to move forward.
The average settlement for wrongful death cases in California can vary by case and can be difficult to predict. We’ll go over the variables that affect settlement amounts, typical payouts in California, and the wrongful death litigation process.
Factors that Affect Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts
Settlement amounts in California vary based on a number of factors, but the main one is the degree of fault by the defendant (or negligent party). If they are found to be completely at fault for your loved one’s death, then the settlement can be much higher. Other factors that affect wrongful death settlement amounts are:
1. Age of the Deceased
The age of the deceased plays an important role in the settlement amount. If the deceased was young, the settlement amount might be higher as they would have had more potential to earn in their lifetime.
2. Income and Earning Capacity of the Deceased
The deceased’s income and earning capacity before their death are major factors in determining the settlement amount. The settlement amount may be more significant if the deceased was the primary earner or breadwinner for the family, or if they had a high earning capacity.
3. Relationship with the Deceased
The surviving family members’ relationship with the deceased also affects the settlement amount. If the deceased was the primary caregiver or financial support for the family, the settlement amount can be significant.
4. Medical Expenses and Funeral Costs
The settlement amount may also include medical expenses and funeral costs incurred by the surviving family members.
Typical Wrongful Death Compensation in California
In California, both economic and non-economic damages are covered by wrongful death compensation. The surviving family members’ monetary losses, such as medical bills, funeral fees, and lost salaries, are referred to as economic damages.
Non-economic losses like pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of companionship are covered under non-economic damages. Punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing, may also be included in the settlement.
According to the California Civil Jury Instructions, the jury considers several factors when awarding compensation, including:
- The age and health of the deceased
- The deceased’s earning capacity and potential
- The deceased’s character and habits
- The degree of financial dependence of the family members
- The emotional distress suffered by the surviving family members
- The typical compensation amount in California ranges from $250,000 to $500,000. However, this amount can vary significantly based on the factors discussed earlier.
Legal Procedures in Wrongful Death Cases
In California, the legal processes for wrongful death cases can be complicated and drawn out. The surviving family members’ first step is to hire an expert wrongful death lawyer to submit the claim on their behalf. The lawyer will gather proof, speak with witnesses, and develop a compelling case against the defendant.
The defendant has the option to resolve the dispute out of court or have a trial after the claim is filed. A judge or jury will decide the settlement amount if the matter proceeds to trial based on the evidence presented.
Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts in California
The median wrongful death settlement in California is between $250,000 and $500,000. The actual amounts can vary depending on the severity and other details of the case.
Overall, wrongful death settlements in California can be high and offer the surviving family members the support they need after the loss of a loved one.
However, determining the appropriate settlement amount requires a thorough evaluation of the case, so it’s crucial to have an experienced wrongful death attorney who can fight on the family’s behalf.
If your family member passed away due to the negligence of another party, call us at 213-996-0790 for legal advice and let us pursue a wrongful death claim. The compensation can help you cover the financial losses and provide some degree of closure and justice.
FAQs About Wrongful Death Cases in California
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal action taken by the surviving family members of a person who has passed away due to the fault of another party. It seeks compensation for the losses suffered by the family members, including financial losses, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in California?
In California, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, or other dependents of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in California?
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the deceased’s death.
What damages can I recover in a wrongful death case?
In a wrongful death case, you can recover economic damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
How much does it cost to hire a wrongful death attorney?
Most wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t charge any upfront fees and only get paid if they win the case. The contingency fee is typically a percentage of the settlement amount, which varies between 33% to 40%.