What is the Typical Compensation For a Wrongful Death Case?

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A wrongful death lawyer calculates damages for a client in his office. According to Forbes, compensation for wrongful death depends on many factors including the extent of the loss that occurred. There is no average settlement because each case is so unique.

The losses you have suffered are also called economic damages. These damages are determined based on the expenses that occurred because of the death of a family member.

These expenses may have already occurred or are coming in the future, such as the following examples:

  • Medical bills of the victim
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income from the victim
  • Lost future earning capacity had the victim lived

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in North Carolina?

There are too many variables between different car accidents to have an accurate average settlement amount. There are many factors that go into determining how much the compensation for a wrongful death from a car accident will be.

You may be able to seek compensation for certain factors such as the following:

  • The number of victims involved
  • The severity of injuries
  • The number of the victim’s dependents
  • The impact of the loss of the victim on the family
  • The amount of recklessness involved in the cause of the accident
  • The available amount of insurance
  • How long the victim’s family is able to wait for the settlement

There are many other factors that go into determining the amount of compensation a car accident wrongful death may warrant. Discussing the details of your situation is the best way to discover your options and potential settlement after a car accident.

There are no two cases that are exactly alike, so comparing your circumstances to that of another may give you a false impression.

How to Analyze Intangible Losses

When it comes to calculating the losses suffered by the victim’s family members, the court has the challenging task of determining the non economic damages as well as the economic. These intangible losses have no dollar amount attached to them as no amount of money can ever bring the person back to the family.

These damages include losses such as:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of guidance
  • Loss of consortium
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of care
  • Loss of support
  • Loss of future memories made with the victim

Will My Case Include Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages may also be sought if the defendant showed truly reckless or intentional behavior that caused the death of the victim. Although they are rarely awarded, they are sometimes used not only as a punishment for the defendant, but also to prevent others from repeating the horrendous actions.

Why Are Wrongful Death Settlement Calculators Often Inadequate?

You may find a settlement calculator online that claims to be able to give you an accurate estimate of your appropriate settlement amount. These calculators are inadequate because each and every wrongful death case is unique, and every settlement amount will be determined based on the circumstances of each case.

Therefore, the settlement that someone else received for their wrongful death claim may not be appropriate for someone else’s case. These calculators may give you a very basic idea, but you will not have an accurate estimate until you consult with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

What Factors Can Impact Your Wrongful Death Settlement Amount?

There are many factors that go into determining a wrongful death settlement and they can make the amount go higher or lower. Some of these factors include:

  • The victim’s age
  • Their overall health at the time of their death
  • Education
  • Professional ability
  • The amount of people financially dependent on the victim
  • If the victim had any part in causing the accident that ultimately caused their death

How Does the Victim’s Age Affect Wrongful Death Settlements?

The settlement amount for a young victim who could have lived a long and productive life is typically higher than that of an elderly individual. When the victim is a young child, the settlement amount is usually less because their future is still unknown.

How Do Income, Education, and Training Affect Wrongful Death Settlements?

The family’s wrongful death settlement is directly affected by the victim’s income, education, and training. Higher settlements are awarded for the loss of people with higher incomes, higher levels of education, and more training because they had the potential to earn a significantly higher amount of money had they lived.

How Do the Victim’s Medical Expenses Affect Wrongful Death Settlements?

The victims of wrongful deaths do not always die right away. There are often extreme medical efforts that took place in an attempt to save their lives.

Medical expenses are typically very high, but these costs are easily calculated by using the medical bills and any associated expenses that were paid prior to the victim’s death. These expenses may have been covered by the victim’s medical insurance or out of pocket by the victim, the victim’s estate, or the victim’s family.

Are Household Services Included in Wrongful Death Settlements?

The victim’s contribution to their household makes a significant impact on the settlement the family receives from a wrongful death lawsuit. Household services include how the victim provided care for their minor children and any other member of the household who depended on them either  financially or for their care, for example an elderly or disabled person.

In situations where the victim was the primary person to perform certain household services, or if the responsibility was equally shared with their spouse, the family would be able to receive higher compensation for their non economic loss.

What Is the Average Car Accident Wrongful Death Settlement?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were 45,404 deaths from motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2021. If your loved one was killed in a car accident, there are various losses that may be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages may include:

  • Medical bills from before the victim died
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of the victim’s income or financial support
  • Pain and suffering the victim suffered before death
  • Pain and suffering caused to the family, such as loss of companionship and emotional support

Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in North Carolina?

According to North Carolina law, only the personal representative of the victim may file a lawsuit for a wrongful death. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the victim’s estate, so the personal representative may or may not be eligible to receive any of the compensation depending on who the victim appointed as their representative.

North Carolina law also dictates who may receive compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit and the amount must be distributed according to this law regardless of what is stated in the victim’s will.

A wrongful death attorney will help you determine who may file your lawsuit and who will receive the compensation for damages. Your attorney will also help you understand any other pertinent laws and guide you through the legal process of the case.

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, the best thing you can do is consult with an experienced lawyer to make sure that your family’s rights are protected.

Call the Heavy Hitters Among North Carolina Wrongful Death Law Firms to Protect Your Family’s Rights

If your loved one was critically injured due to someone else’s recklessness, carelessness, or negligent actions, and tragically died as a result of their injuries, contact the North Carolina wrongful death attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters

We have over 65 years of combined legal experience and skills to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and build a strong case on your behalf. We are known as the Heavy Hitters because we fight hard to get you the maximum possible compensation for your losses.

We at Tatum & Atkinson understand the devastating impact of losing a family member in a wrongful death. You do not have to fight for justice and compensation on your own.

Call (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and we will explain your options and how we will help you. We will get started right away to make sure that you receive the best possible outcome from such a tragic event.


We are always honest about your legal options and how we can assist you.