The death of a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence is an unfathomable loss on so many levels. How can you and your family possibly move forward? Although there is no price tag or monetary value on human life, you may be able to alleviate the financial and emotional burden left behind by their death by pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit for maximum compensation.
If you think this is the legal action you want to take, it is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced wrongful death attorney from the team at Boettcher, Divenney, Ingle, and Wicker (BDIW). We can represent you and your family to maximize the settlement during this trying, stressful time.
How the Settlement Is Paid
Who pays for the settlement compensation if the wrongful death lawsuit is successful? The individual person, company, organization, or government body that caused your loved one’s death, or their insurance company, is held liable and pays surviving family members.
When the at-fault party’s insurance company is involved in the wrongful death lawsuit, the settlement amount will depend on the policy. And just because the negligent party has insurance coverage does not mean the insurance company will pay the full settlement amount.
Many insurance policies come with limits on how much they’ll pay out. If the settlement is higher than the policy limit, the at-fault party will be responsible to pay the rest themselves.
If they do not carry any insurance coverage, they are responsible for the entire settlement through garnished wages or sold assets. This can be hard to collect. That is why it is critical to have a wrongful death lawyer value your claim based on the evidence and damages connected to your case to fight for the maximum settlement amount.
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What Can a Wrongful Death Settlement Pay For?
The complicated process of calculating the damages you may be entitled to after a loved one’s wrongful death depends on the case and your specific losses. The common damages that are available for compensation through your settlement include:
- Medical expenses for the treatment of injuries before your loved one died
- Pain and suffering of the person who died
- The cost of the funeral and burial services
- Any related attorney fees
- Loss of wages if your loved one was the main provider of the family
- Loss of support, love, companionship, and guidance for the surviving family members
- Loss of inheritance
Settlement payout becomes complicated when an estate is involved. An experienced attorney can help in guiding you in the right direction on the best way to maximize the amount of the wrongful death settlement you could receive, which involves gathering strong evidence and considering these factors of your loved one who has passed away:
- Earning capacity and income at the time of death
- Education, training, and type of occupation
- State of health
- The ages and circumstances of the dependents
- Life expectancy
The Starting Point of a Wrongful Death Settlement
The first step you need to take to get to the point of a wrongful death settlement is filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Then, with the guidance of your wrongful death attorney, your lawsuit will either be decided by a trial in front of a judge or jury, or your case may settle without going to trial.
This means that either a judge or jury will decide how much the family members are entitled to in the settlement, or you will negotiate with the negligent parties to come up with an agreeable amount of compensation.
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Who Is Eligible to Receive the Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
In Oklahoma, the victim’s surviving family members or a representative of the victim’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive a financial settlement from the claim. This can include the deceased person’s:
- Domestic partner
If the wrongful death victim does not have a surviving spouse or children, those who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and benefit from the settlement include the victim’s:
- The closest living family member
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What Are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?
Surviving family members who are considering pursuing filing a wrongful death lawsuit for their deceased loved one are commonly dealing with the burden of expenses from fatal accidents in these categories:
- Car accidents: Typically, these result from speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, or auto defects.
- Truck accidents: These can result from driver error or truck company negligence.
- Motorcycle accidents: These are typically caused by other drivers failing to notice motorcyclists on the road.
- Medical malpractice: Occurs when a doctor, nurse, or medical staff cuts corners, makes errors, or fails to follow proper procedures.
- Defective products: These result from dangerous childcare toys or products, toxic food products, pharmaceuticals, and defective vehicles.
- Workplace accidents: These affect more than 4,700 workers in the United States each year.
The Differences Between Structured and Lump Sum Settlement Payments
An expert wrongful death attorney will be able to walk you through the advantages of two ways to receive settlement payments:
This is when the at-fault party pays for the damages in installments on a structured, regular schedule that could last over time in months or years, depending on the agreed-upon court order. This is helpful over the long term, but some families may find it challenging to pay big bills when they are receiving a little money at a time.
The at-fault party or their insurance company may agree to pay the entire settlement in one lump sum payment to the beneficiaries. There is an immediate advantage to receiving these funds all at once, of course, but there are certain tax consequences with this lump sum option, which should be discussed with your attorney.
How Our Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help Your Settlement Payout
An experienced wrongful death attorney at Boettcher, Divenney, Ingle, and Wicker can help you decide on the best strategy for how your settlement payment should be distributed, whether or not to take an offer, and how all damages are calculated. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.
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