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Placing value on the loss of a loved one


The death of a family member represents a tragic milestone where loved ones are left grieving a monumental loss. However, discovering that negligent acts caused the tragedy, issues become more emotionally charged.

Pursuing justice

Surviving family members want justice, with many taking legal action by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Questions surround how to quantify and recover what is equivalent to the tangible value of the life lost. Families lose a primary wage earner and are left without that source of income. A spouse who actively participated in raising children is no longer around. In the short-term, funeral costs and medical expenses need to e paid as well.

Even the simple act of planning and paying for a funeral can be financially catastrophic. Trying to put a specific dollar amount related to the magnitude of the loss is both legally complex and emotionally charged.

Determining value

Various factors play a role and vary depending on the circumstances of the case, starting with the age of the victim and their health prior to the tragic event. Relevant factors include the victim’s age and health at the time of death. Potential earning capacity if they recovered and lived is also a component. Intangible elements include the loss of companionship, intimacy, and pain and suffering before taking their last breath.

Awards after reaching a settlement or jury verdict represent a wide range of compensation. Recent high-profile wrongful death cases paint a picture. Families have received anywhere from $500,000 to $150 million.

No amount of money can turn back time and bring your loved one back to you. However, justice in the form of financial compensation for your loss can make life a little bit easier as you face an uncertain future.