Wrongful death claims often involve significant claims for damages. As such, settlements are often pretty substantial. Even so, your case is unique and may or may not align with what might be considered a typical settlement.
An average or normal settlement for wrongful death claims is often hard to decipher because settlements for such grievous claims are often kept private. Even so, damages in wrongful death claims tend to be quite large, and settlements should reflect the gravity of the situation and loss. Wrongful death settlements often come down to a few key factors, including damages your loved one suffered, damages you and your family experienced, and how your loved one passed away. Our team of legal professionals can help you use evidence and skillful negotiation strategies to get you the largest settlement possible for you and your family.
Schedule a free evaluation of your case and potential settlement by calling (410) 694-7291 and speaking to our Maryland wrongful death attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.
Typical Settlements for Maryland Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims are significant, and the compensation a plaintiff receives should reflect the magnitude of their loss. Any claims involving death tend to be met with large settlements. A wrongful death claim is no different. An average settlement, although likely high, is hard to pin down since each case is different and may involve unique factors and evidence.
Settlements might be restricted by certain limits on damages, depending on your situation. For example, if your wrongful death claim is based on medical malpractice, non-economic damages might be limited, according to Md. Code Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-2A-09(b)(1). Under this law, non-economic damages for medical malpractice are currently capped at $875,000. A settlement in this case should account for non-economic damages, but the defendant is unlikely to agree to pay more than what is limited by law.
Talk to your attorney about your specific situation and how your loved one passed away. If there are limits on damages, your attorney can help you make sure your settlement is as close to the maximum as possible. If there are no limits, your lawyer can try to get you as much compensation as possible.
How Settlements in Wrongful Death Cases Are Determined in Maryland
A settlement for a wrongful death claim should be relatively high. Even if economic costs from the accident and other expenses are minor, losing a loved one is huge and deserves significant compensation. To maximize your settlement, our Aberdeen wrongful death attorneys can review your case for the following factors and use them to try and get the best settlement possible.
Damages Suffered by Your Deceased Loved One
People often think of the losses and damages they and their families have faced since losing a loved one, but these are not the only damages you can claim. Even though your loved one is gone, their own claims for damages may live on through your case. You can claim damages for the losses and injuries your family member suffered before they passed away. In some cases, these damages can be quite large.
A common example is when a loved one passes away after a car accident. Suppose they were rushed to the hospital where emergency medical treatment was administered before they eventually succumbed to their injuries. In such a case, you can claim the cost of your loved one’s medical care as part of the damages in your wrongful death claim. You can also claim the value of their damaged vehicle.
Damages Your Family Experienced
Of course, the damages and losses experienced by you and your family are extremely important and may make up a large portion of your settlement. First, you should talk about various economic losses the loss of your family member caused. For example, your loved one might have provided you with caregiving services. With them gone, you have to pay for those services from someone else, which can be very expensive. If your loved one provided income to your household, you can claim the value of that lost income.
Non-economic injuries may also be considered. If you lost a spouse, you might claim the loss of consortium or companionship. Children who lose parents can claim lost guidance and parental affection. These experiences can be very painful but are ultimately very subjective. As such, settlements tend to vary.
The Cause of Death
We should also look at the cause of your loved one’s passing. In cases where the cause of death is unsettling or upsetting, defendants might be eager to settle out of court rather than face the wrath of an emotional jury.
The cause of the death and the defendant’s behavior might also influence whether punitive damages are available. In Maryland, punitive damages are only available in cases where defendants acted with actual malice. Actual malice is usually defined as an evil motive or intent. If actual malice is present in your case, punitive damages might be significant, and a good settlement should account for that.
How to Maximize a Potential Settlement in a Wrongful Death Case in Maryland
Ultimately, a settlement might come down to two crucial factors: evidence and negotiation skills. Evidence is crucial in settlement negotiations. While there is no burden of proof in settlement talks, you still need enough evidence to show your claims are valid and that compensation is warranted. The more evidence you have, the more leverage you have to get a higher settlement.
Evidence does not mean much if your attorney does not have the negotiation skills to use it effectively. Often, defendants try to minimize settlements and make low offers in the hopes that unwary or tired plaintiffs will accept them. Our team has the skills and experience to fight for the best settlement possible.
Contact Our Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers About a Settlement for Your Case
Schedule a free review of your claims and potential settlement by calling (410) 694-7291 and talking to our Baltimore wrongful death lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.