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Wrongful Death Claims: How Do You Place Value On A Life

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Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person may experience, even more so if the cause of death is because of someone’s negligence. This means the loss was unexpected and was something that wouldn’t have happened under normal circumstances.

If you’ve lost a loved one this way, you’re likely left with a lot of emotional pain and financial burden. While there’s no tangible way to ease the former, the latter can be solved by filing for a wrongful death claim.

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?

Before you call a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles, you must first identify if the death of your loved one qualifies as wrongful death.

According to legal publishing site NOLO, you can file for a wrongful death claim when a person dies because of the wrongful act of another person or entity. A wrongful death case is a civil action lawsuit against a defendant with the aim of seeking monetary recompense for damages. A defendant may not be penalized with incarceration, unlike criminal cases where defendants serve probation or prison time.

In California, only certain people are allowed to file for a claim. Under the Chapter 4, Article 6 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure, the “decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and issue of deceased children, or, if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” are the ones allowed to file for a wrongful death claim and receive compensation for their loved one’s death.

A wrongful death claim should be filed within two years of your loved one’s death, as it is the time limit stated in the statute of limitations in California.

How Do You Calculate a Wrongful Death Settlement?

Placing a monetary value on someone’s life is not only difficult, but it can also be considered unethical. Fortunately, the money you’ll receive for a wrongful death claim isn’t based on the decedent’s life per se, but on the monetary value of their contributions and the expenses to cover their death. Typically, this is divided into two categories, which are economic and non-economic damages.

Among the factors that fall under the economic damages and contributes in determining the amount of a settlement are:

  • The deceased’s age at the time of their death
  • The deceased’s earning capacity
  • The deceased’s income at the time of their death
  • The deceased’s state of health
  • The deceased’s educational attainment and other training
  • The age and circumstances of the deceased’s dependents
  • The medical bills incurred during the deceased’s hospitalization
  • The deceased’s funeral expenses
  • The value of the lost benefits from the deceased, such as insurance and pension

Meanwhile, the non-economic damages that are evaluated for a wrongful death claim may include:

  • The subjective value of the deceased’s life as perceived by a judge or jury
  • The loss of love, companionship, affection, support, protection, or comfort that the deceased’s loved ones suffer from

The value of all these claims cannot be based on estimates or guesswork. Instead, each must be supported by objective evidence, such as paperwork and the expertise of forensic economists.

The Value of Legal Help in Wrongful Death Claims

One of the smartest things to do if your loved one died a wrongful death is to seek legal help. Fortunately, wrongful death attorneys from Haffner Law are fully equipped to represent you. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your loved one’s death.

Get in touch with us today at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637).

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