How Is Compensation Determined in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
Losing a loved one is a heart-wrenching experience for any person. Coping with their loss can become even more traumatic and stressful when thinking about having to quantify the monetary value of this person’s lost life. How can the value of someone’s life be quantified when life itself is invaluable and so precious? There is no solid equation that is available to determine the compensation that family members can receive due to the loss of a loved one.
Determining their value in a wrongful death suit is a strenuous process, which involves many different factors that are taken into consideration by insurance companies and/or courts of law. If you have any questions in regards to your wrongful death case or would like to schedule a free consultation at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.
Filing a Wrongful Death Insurance Claim
A wrongful death insurance claim can be filed against the party or parties at-fault for the accident that caused the wrongful death. Filing a wrongful death claim against an insurance company can be a daunting task in and of itself. What can make matters worse is that after filing a claim, the insurance company can either deny it or pressure you to settle for the lowest amount of compensation available.
If an insurance company denies your claim or gives a final offer that is unjust, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the insurance company and/or the parties at-fault. To lessen your already heavy burden from processing the loss of a loved one, you should seek the assistance from an experienced wrongful death attorney who knows how to handle insurance companies to get the compensation that you deserve.
Compensation Available for Damages Experienced by Wrongful Death
- Economic damages are equated by financial loss that accompanies the passing of a loved one. Compensation for economic damages can be determined by the deceased’s lost potential earning capacity, their income at time of death, medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of benefits. These factors are also accompanied by considerations of age, health, education, and/or training that the deceased held.
- Non-economic damages are not equated by a direct financial loss that accompanies the loss of a loved one, but rather the priceless emotional value that is lost. These damages can be determined by the subjective value of life, the identities of the deceased, and the loss of consortium the surviving family experiences from their loss. Loss of consortium includes the loss of an emotional relationship and the loss of child bearing opportunities and/or sexual relations.
- Punitive damages are a form of non-economic damages that are awarded on top of the other damages, intended as a punishment for the party or parties at-fault for the cause of the accident.
Factors That Affect Compensation for a Wrongful Death Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
As explained above, economic, non-economic, and punitive damages are those available for financial compensation for an insurance claim or lawsuit against the party or parties at-fault. However, an insurance claim adjuster or jury and judge will also take into consideration the following:
- The surviving family member. This refers to the person who filed the claim and/or the family that will receive the claim. The insurance claim adjuster, jury, and judge in a court of law take into consideration the character and the motive of those who will receive the insurance claim money.
- The deceased. The insurance claim adjuster, jury, and judge will also take into consideration the moral character of the person who has passed. Will their character deem them as a good or bad person? While these questions of character morality may seem irrelevant to the fact that a person died in an act of wrongful death, the moral appeal is what will help a jury determine whether or not the amount being sued for is appropriate.
- The amount of insurance available to cover the claim. This is a crucial aspect when it comes to determining whether the amount filed for a wrongful death lawsuit will be granted or not. If you are suing for more than the amount of insurance available for a wrongful death claim, the remaining balance is expected to be paid off by the individual at-fault. This can be considered malice on your end, depending on the occupation, character, and identities of the defendant.
- The party or parties at-fault for causing the wrongful death. The character of the individual(s) at-fault will also be considered by the insurance claim adjuster, jury, and judge in a court of law. Again, this question of character morality comes into play. Is the offender a good person who unintentionally contributed to the accident, or are they intentionally reckless? Other factors, including occupation and identities of the person at-fault, can also come into play with this factor.
- The jurisdiction of law and court location. Where and under what setting the case is heard can affect the ruling in a wrongful death lawsuit, as well.
- The judge. A judge’s reputation for rulings on wrongful death lawsuits can have an impact on the outcome of the case. If you are given a judge who is known for ruling against the plaintiff of wrongful death lawsuits, be sure to have an experienced attorney to build a strong case for you.
- The reputations of the attorney and legal team that is representing you. Lastly, the reputation of your attorney can have a large effect on the end result of your lawsuit. If the attorney you have hired has a bad reputation for representing clients in the name of greed without concern for the deceased, then this can play against your favor.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have lost a loved one due to negligent actions committed by another party, our expert team of wrongful death attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for damages you have suffered. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.