Wrongful Death Settlement Calculator - Estimate Your Claim Value

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Use our wrongful death calculator to estimate a payout for a wrongful death claim, and understand key factors that affect settlement value. Settlement calculations should only be interpreted as estimates, and do not guarantee a final settlement amount for your claim. Our calculators are intended to provide a general idea of how much a wrongful death claim may be worth. For an accurate estimate, consult a personal injury attorney.

Settlement Calculator

Enter the estimated total medical costs incurred as a result of the wrongful death.

Enter the total expenses for funeral services and burial or cremation costs.

Estimate the income the deceased would have earned if they had lived.

Estimated compensation for the surviving family member(s) that have suffered the emotional and psychological distress due to the wrongful death / deceased. This may include grief, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and the impact of adjusting to life without the deceased.

Estimate the economic value of services the deceased would have provided (e.g., childcare, maintenance).

About Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is a legal claim against a person who may be held liable for a death. A wrongful death claim is brought in a civil action (often by close relatives). In the event of a successful wrongful death case, survivor family members, relatives, or those who are legally entitled may be compensated for the harm and losses suffered as a result of losing a loved one.

Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amount & Settlement Examples

Average wrongful death settlement amount chart (2024)
Average wrongful death settlement amount chart (2024)

The wrongful death settlement amount in the United States is approximately $973,054, which is based on data from over 956 wrongful death cases recorded by Thomson Reuters in the last 5 years (between 2019 and 2024).

  • Average settlement: $973,054 – Based on 956 wrongful death settlements in the United States.
  • Lowest settlement: $25,000 – Individual suffered fatal injuries as a result of an auto accident involving an underinsured motorist. The wrongful death settlement was allocated as follows: $12,500 for wrongful death and $12,500 for the survival action.
  • Highest settlement: $730,000,000 – A 73-year-old individual was fatally injured after their vehicle was struck by an oncoming commercial tractor trailer transporting oversized cargo. This resulted in the top portion of the vehicle being completely removed. Descendant’s four surviving children were awarded the compensation.

Note: This settlement amount data is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as a guaranteed settlement value for your wrongful death case. If you are eligible to recover compensation, your settlement may be higher or lower than the amounts provided and are ultimately dependent on the unique circumstances and variables of your case.

How Wrongful Death Claims Are Calculated

1. Medical Expenses

Like all personal injury settlement calculations, medical expenses may be used to calculate the final settlement amount. For wrongful death claims, this includes all healthcare costs incurred due to the injury that led to death. This can include hospital stays, surgeries, medication, medical procedures, and any end-of-life care expenses.

How to estimate medical expenses:

  • Collect all medical bills related to the deceased’s treatment from the time of injury until their death.
  • Include costs of emergency care, ongoing care, and any specialized medical equipment that was needed.
  • If not all bills are available, consult with healthcare providers to get detailed statements or estimates.
Example calculation

Example calculation for medical expenses:

  • Hospital room for 14 days at $800 per day = $11,200
  • Two surgeries at $15,000 each = $30,000
  • Medication and other hospital services = $5,800
  • Total Medical Expenses = $11,200 + $30,000 + $5,800 = $47,000

2. Funeral Costs

These are the costs associated with the funeral and burial or cremation. This includes service fees, casket, embalming, hearse, burial plot, headstone, and any other ceremony-related expenses.

How to estimate funeral costs:

  • Gather receipts from the funeral home and any other expenses related to memorial services.
  • If planning has not yet occurred, obtain quotes from local funeral homes for an estimate of typical costs.
Example calculation

Example calculation for funeral costs:

  • Funeral service fees = $2,000
  • Casket = $2,500
  • Burial plot = $3,000
  • Headstone = $1,500
  • Miscellaneous (flowers, programs) = $500
  • Total Funeral Costs = $2,000 + $2,500 + $3,000 + $1,500 + $500 = $9,500

3. Loss of Income

This figure represents the future earnings that the deceased would have provided had they lived. This includes salaries, wages, benefits, and other earnings.

How to estimate loss of income:

  • Calculate current annual income and project it over the expected working lifetime of the deceased.
  • Adjust for potential raises, promotions, and inflation.
  • Consider consulting with an economic expert to factor in complex variables like changes in employment landscape or potential career changes.
Example calculation

Example calculation for loss of income:

The deceased was earning $50,000 annually and was expected to work for another 20 years, possibly receiving average annual raises of 3%.

  • Base salary = $50,000
  • Expected income growth rate = 3% per year
  • Calculating the future value of an annuity (simplified here):
    • Annual salary increase results in an approximate doubling of the initial salary over 20 years due to compounding.
    • Total projected earnings without raises = $50,000 x 20 = $1,000,000
    • With raises factored in (simplified compounding) = $1,000,000 x 1.5 (approximation for raises and compounding) = $1,500,000

4. Pain and Suffering

This variable compensates surviving the family member(s) for emotional and psychological distress they experience due to the loss of their loved one. This may include grief, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and the impact of adjusting to life without the deceased.

How to estimate pain & suffering:

  • This is more subjective and varies greatly. Legal precedents and similar cases can offer guidance.
  • Consult with a lawyer to understand how pain and suffering have been valued in similar cases in your jurisdiction.
Example calculation

Example calculation for pain & suffering:

  • Assume the local jurisdiction typically recognizes substantial awards for emotional suffering in wrongful death cases.
  • The therapy costs for each family member are $150 per session, with each attending weekly sessions over a year, and additional distress considered:
    • Total therapy costs per person = $150 x 52 weeks = $7,800
    • Total therapy for three family members = $7,800 x 3 = $23,400
  • Additional compensation for emotional distress based on similar cases might be around $75,000.
  • Estimated Pain and Suffering Compensation = $23,400 (therapy costs) + $75,000 (for general distress) = $98,400

This calculation focuses on the direct costs of therapy for the surviving family members and includes an estimate for general emotional suffering, recognizing the profound impact the loss has on their lives.

5. Loss of Service

A “loss of service” calculation estimates the value of all the services the deceased would have provided at home, such as childcare, home maintenance, and daily chores.

How to estimate loss of service:

  • List all the services the deceased would have performed and estimate how much it would cost to hire someone else to do these tasks.
  • Use local service rates to estimate costs for things like cleaning, lawn care, childcare, etc.
  • Consider the time frame — how long would these services have been needed (e.g., until children reach adulthood).
Example calculation

Example calculation for loss of service:

  • Childcare in local area = $1,500 per month x 12 months = $18,000 per year
  • Estimated cost of hiring a part-time handyman for maintenance = $200 per month x 12 = $2,400 per year
  • Cooking and other household duties estimated at = $500 per month x 12 = $6,000 per year
  • Childcare and maintenance needed for approximately 10 more years:
    • Total for Childcare = $18,000 x 10 = $180,000
    • Total for Maintenance = $2,400 x 10 = $24,000
    • Total for Cooking and Household = $6,000 x 10 = $60,000
  • Total Loss of Service = $180,000 + $24,000 + $60,000 = $264,000

Factors That Influence The Settlement Value Of A Wrongful Death Case

1. Relationship to the Deceased

The relationship of the claimants (e.g., spouse, children, parents) to the deceased plays a significant role in determining the settlement value. Dependents who were financially and emotionally reliant on the deceased, like minor children or a non-working spouse, may receive higher compensation.

2. Economic Losses

This includes the deceased’s potential future earnings, benefits (such as pension or health insurance), and contributions to household expenses. Calculations often consider the deceased’s age, health, life expectancy, career, and earnings at the time of death.

3. Medical and Funeral Expenses

Any medical costs incurred as a result of the incident leading to death, as well as funeral and burial costs, are recoverable. These are typically straightforward calculations based on actual expenses.

4. Non-Economic Damages

These are more subjective and include compensation for loss of companionship, emotional distress, and pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death. The age and health of the deceased can influence these damages, as they impact the presumed length and quality of life lost.

5. The Deceased’s Age and Health

Younger victims typically result in higher economic damage calculations due to the presumed longer remaining working life. The health of the deceased prior to the incident also affects estimations of life expectancy and potential future earnings.

6. Degree of Fault

In jurisdictions with comparative negligence laws, the degree of fault attributed to the deceased and other parties can adjust the compensation proportionally. If the deceased is found partly at fault, the settlement may be reduced.

7. Punitive Damages

If the defendant’s conduct is found to be particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoing and deter similar behavior in the future. This can significantly increase the settlement value.

8. Insurance Coverage

The defendant’s insurance policy limits often cap the maximum payout available, regardless of the damages calculated. This practical constraint is a crucial factor in many settlements.

9. Legal and Jurisdictional Factors

Laws and legal precedents vary by jurisdiction and can significantly impact settlement outcomes. This includes statutes of limitations for filing claims and specific caps on certain types of damages.

10. Quality of Evidence

The strength of the evidence linking the defendant’s actions to the death and the quality of legal representation can also greatly influence the outcome of a case.

These factors are weighed collectively, and the negotiation process between the parties involved (often mediated by legal professionals) will take all these aspects into account to arrive at a settlement value. Each wrongful death case is unique, and the specific circumstances will drive the final settlement amount.

Maximize Your Pedestrian Accident Settlement With Help From An Attorney

It’s important to recognize that each wrongful claim is unique, and the methods and variables used to calculate settlement value be unique to the circumstances and associated damages of your case. Consulting with a wrongful death attorney can help ensure that you receive a fair settlement.

Getting started with your wrongful death claim is easy. Just request a free case evaluation online, and a legal team in our network will reach out to you regarding your case. Our network of attorneys includes a team of over 250+ legal professionals throughout the United States with over $1 billion recovered for clients, including settlements for surviving family members who have lost their loved ones.

⚖️ All of our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront legal fees or costs — you only pay if you win.

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