How Much is a Wrongful Death Case Worth in California?

While the legal system understands that nothing can ever bring your loved one back after a wrongful death accident and your life will never be whole again, it does attempt to compensate the victim’s loved ones so that their brutal emotional loss is not compounded by crippling financial losses as well.  

How can I tell how much my case is worth? 

Every case is different, but if your Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can prove that the defendant was liable for the tragic wrongful death, then you will likely receive some sort of financial compensation. Some wrongful death plaintiffs may be rewarded tens of millions of dollars, while others may receive much less. Some of the primary factors that wrongful death lawyers and juries consider when determining how much your case is worth are listed below:  

  • The age of the victim. In general, the more “working years” that the victim had left, the more his or her loved ones will be able to collect if they relied on the victim’s financial support. So a 30-year old spouse and parent in good health up until the tragic accident would have many more working years left than a 70-year old whose career was winding down. When a minor or young adult is the wrongful death victim, it is often unclear what career path that person would have taken and how much they would have earned. So while he or she had most or all of the possible working years left, deciphering how much he or she would have made might be a guessing game.   
  • The victim’s income at the time of death. The simplest way to calculate how much the victim would have made in the future is to use the figure that he or she was earning at the time of the wrongful death. Where this gets complicated is when someone is not quite established in their chosen field yet, or if they are in the process of working their way up. For example, one 30-year old may be making a steady $100,000 per year without much room for growth, while another 30-year old may be making $30,000 per year in an industry where he or she has a realistic chance to be earning $500,000 per year in the near future.   
  • The household services and chores that the victim used to provide. For example, if the victim handled all of the cooking, cleaning, and child care, then the surviving spouse may receive compensation for those services.  
  • Whether or not the victim was partially responsible for the accident. If so, then your financial recovery may be reduced in proportion with the victim’s share of the blame.  

What types of damages are typically included in wrongful death lawsuits? 

Along these same lines, there are several different types of damages for which a wrongful death attorney may help you recover in a wrongful death case, including the following:  

  • Burial and funeral expenses 
  • Medical expenses incurred between the time of the accident and the time of the victim’s death 
  • Future financial support that you would have received had the victim’s life not been unexpectedly cut short 
  • Compensation for the necessity to pay someone to handle the household duties that the victim typically completed 
  • The lack of benefits, such as health insurance, that you would have received  
  • The loss of any gifts or inheritances that you would have received 
  • Loss of affection and companionship 
  • Loss of consortium 

A firm that Southern Californians trust  

At Ellis Injury Law, we have been representing Southern Californians for over a quarter of a century, and our experience with the nuances of wrongful death cases enables us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and then advise accordingly. We have earned more than $350 Million in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. 

You pay nothing unless you win 

If you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death case, call Ellis Injury Law 24/7 to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. We will not charge you anything unless you prevail.