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What Is A Wrongful Death Claim Worth?

Earlier this week, I wrote a post asking “What Is The Typical Personal Injury Settlement When Someone Gets Hurt?”  In the post, my basic conclusion is that there is no “typical settlement.”  Each personal injury case has its own unique facts and must be evaluated on its own merits.  If a lawyer tells you he knows the value of your case without talking to you about specifics or without investigating a number of factors of the case, then the lawyer is doing you a disservice.

At about the same time I was writing that post, Ron Miller, a Maryland personal injury lawyer, was writing a post titled “Wrongful Death Compensation: How Much?”   In the post, Ron looks at an academic article that tries to create a more uniform system for awarding wrongful death damages.  And Ron’s response was very similar to mine.  It’s hard to have a uniform system because “facts vary wildly from case to case.”  Each case is different, and awards (or values clients put on elements of awards) differ from person to person.

For example, two personal injury victims may say they like to scuba dive and they can’t do it any longer.  However, one client has been scuba diving a couple of times while the other is willing to spend $5,000 twice a year on scuba diving trips.  The value of being unable to dive probably means a lot more to the second than the first.

All elements of damages vary this way, and it’s just impossible to put a uniform number or value on a claim or to estimate what a claim’s worth without knowing most of the facts of the case.

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