What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

Losing a loved one is devastating. But when that loss is caused by someone acting recklessly or negligently, it adds a new layer of pain and suffering.

Surviving family members might choose to pursue a wrongful death settlement. This may help them cover expenses as they grieve. But how much can you expect to receive from a wrongful death settlement? And how do you know your chances of winning a wrongful death case?

What Exactly Is a Wrongful Death Settlement?

A wrongful death settlement is an amount paid by an at-fault person or business (or, more often, by their insurance company) to the family of the deceased. It’s a lot like a personal injury settlement, but because the injured person isn’t here to collect the benefits, the family collects them instead. 

These settlements usually cover the following expenses:

  • Loss of future income 
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of companionship

Often, wrongful death settlements average hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. You might wonder whether a wrongful death settlement is the same as a wrongful death lawsuit. 

The two are related but not identical. If a person is killed because someone else was negligent (and an attorney agrees to take the case), an attorney may file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

This is a kind of civil lawsuit, so if the responsible party is found liable for the death, they’ll be ordered to pay the plaintiffs a certain sum of money. However, most of these lawsuits are settled out of court before the actual civil trial begins. 

When this happens, both parties agree on an amount, and the responsible party pays it to the plaintiff. That amount is a wrongful death settlement.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?

Not every family member has the power to file a wrongful death lawsuit (or seek a settlement). 

Under Georgia law, only a few groups of people are eligible:

  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse
  • Their surviving parents
  • Their surviving children
  • Their estate representative

This doesn’t mean that another family member cannot receive part of the settlement. If an estate representative files and receives a settlement, they can distribute it according to the deceased person’s will.

What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

Before you decide whether to file a wrongful death claim, you probably want to know how much you can expect to get from a settlement. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. 

Each case is so different that you’d need to talk to a wrongful death attorney to understand your chances of success and get an accurate idea of the damages you can collect. 

However, if you’d like a very general idea of the average wrongful death settlement, they usually range from a few hundred thousand dollars to well over a million. Many different factors help determine the amount of a settlement. 

Here are a few of the main ones:

  • The deceased person’s age and general health
  • Their earning potential
  • Whether they supported a spouse, children, or other family members
  • The type of accident or injury that caused the death
  • Medical bills incurred as a result of the injury or accident (before their death)
  • Whether they were in significant pain or endured suffering before death

If you book a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer, they will likely ask you about these factors and the nature of your loved one’s death. From there, they can tell you your chances of winning a wrongful death suit and what that case might be worth.

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases in Georgia

Wrongful death cases can sometimes result in very large settlements. Here are a few Georgia examples. These wrongful death cases average millions, but keep in mind that your case may settle for much less.

A Faulty Guardrail

In 2023, the family of a deceased woman received a $40 million settlement. The woman was killed because the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) failed to repair a broken guardrail. 

GDOT is obligated to repair guardrails within 21 days of notification, but the broken guardrail in question was left unrepaired for 10 months. The woman was a passenger in a car driven by her aunt. The aunt was driving around a curve when she lost control of the car. 

The car hit the guardrail, fell, and crashed into a concrete pole. The aunt suffered a permanent brain injury, and the passenger was killed. Had the guardrail been in working condition, it would have stopped the car, saving them both from injury and death.

A Reckless Comcast Driver

The family of a deceased man was awarded $18,900,000 in 2023 after he was killed in an accident with a Comcast van. The Comcast van ran a red light and hit the man, who suffered a serious brain injury. He was unable to care for himself, walk, or speak. His health declined, and he passed away 21 months after the crash.

A Negligent Rehab Center

In 2022, the family of a young man received a record-setting $77 million settlement. The man had a history of both bipolar disorder and substance use disorder, and he was abruptly released by a rehab facility without any of his medications. He was killed after lying down on Interstate 85.

Should You Pursue a Wrongful Death Settlement?

If you’ve suffered the loss of a family member because someone else acted recklessly or carelessly, just getting through day-to-day life can feel like a challenge. If your loved one was your family’s primary breadwinner, you also might have the added struggle of trying to make ends meet.

From the outside, some people say wrongful death settlements are just “cash grabs” or that family members are taking advantage of an opportunity to make money. However, a settlement is simply meant to help family members cover expenses as they grieve the loss and figure out how to move forward. If your family is struggling in the wake of a preventable loss, it might be worth pursuing a settlement.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Lawson Personal Injury Attorneys in Lawrenceville for Help Today

For more information, please contact our experienced wrongful death lawyer at Lawson Personal Injury Attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have a convenient location in Lawrenceville, GA.

Lawson Personal Injury Attorneys
320 S Perry St, Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 446-3655