Wrongful death settlements in the U.S. vary widely because the laws are different pending which state you’re in. This is the reason wrongful death settlements have a large range even when it comes to the same type of case, such as two malpractice cases. Some states have implemented tort reform which greatly influences wrongful death settlements. Tort is the limit the state can award a victim or their family, even for wrongful death. This means a judge or jury may decide on a sum to be awarded, but legally will only be paid up to the tort for that state.
Define Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is defined as a death that is the result of negligence. If the death was not necessary, but was caused due to someone’s action or inaction, the case is eligible for wrongful death.
Wrongful death settlements in medical malpractice are the least common since a person must provide solid evidence of the events that lead to the death. Because family members are not in the operating room with doctors, there is no way to know how procedures were performed. With medical malpractice, it is often a nurse or future doctor examining the case that alerts the family of the possibility of wrongful death. Medical malpractice is one of the most difficult types of cases to prove for wrongful death.
- Family must prove the death was due to negligence or intent.
- Family must prove they have suffered because of the loss of their loved one.
In a court of law, the family must not only prove that the death was a result of someone’s negligence or intent but also illustrate how the family has suffered as a result. This is typically because a financial provider has been removed from the equation, which causes a hardship for the family. If this can be proven, the family has a very good chance of receiving a wrongful death settlement. This settlement can be used to pay for the funeral or any medical bills the loved one left behind. It can also be divided among surviving family members or an annuity can be paid out over the course of a child’s life.
Wrongful deaths are unexpected and create emotional distress in a family. Find an experienced attorney who knows this area of the law well for the best chance at defending your loved one’s wrongful death.