Settling a Collin County Wrongful Death Case
While taking a civil lawsuit all the way to court is always an option, most personal injury claims in Texas end with private out-of-court settlements, and wrongful death cases are no exception. However, because of the unique nature of wrongful death claims, the settlement process can work a little differently both before and after the claimant accepts a settlement offer.
If you need help settling a Collin County wrongful death case, reaching out to a skilled injury attorney in the area may be a good idea. Beyond just helping you strengthen your negotiating position and maximizing settlement value, legal representation could also be critical to ensuring you are offered a fair settlement amount, and if necessary, could represent your best interests in court.
How Much Could a Untimely Death Settlement Be Worth?
As with any personal injury settlement, there is no set standard for how much money the average claimant in Collin County could get from a wrongful death settlement. This is because the settlement is intended to compensate surviving family members of a deceased accident victim for specific losses they personally endured due to their loved one’s death, so what might be a fair settlement offer in one situation would not necessarily fit another situation.
In general, a settlement demand following someone’s unlawful passing may factor in both economic and non-economic forms of harm, including:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Hospital bills covered by surviving family members rather than the decedent
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of financial support
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium by a spouse
Certain factors may increase or decrease the value of non-economic forms of harm, such as the decedent’s age, the decedent’s health before their passing, what kind of income they could have expected to make in the future, and even their overall temperament. Notably, non-economic damages in wrongful death cases stemming from medical malpractice are capped under state law. The applicable cap increases with inflation every year, so it may be worth seeking clarification from a qualified lawyer about whether this rule would affect a particular case, and if so, to what degree.
Distributing Wrongful Death Settlements Among Family Members
Unfortunately, sometimes the most contentious part of the wrongful death settlement process in Collin County is not the actual negotiation of the settlement, but rather the division of money among claimants and beneficiaries after the negotiation process concludes. This can get even more complicated if one of the decedent’s beneficiaries is a minor child who will need to have a guardian ad litem appointed to review the ultimate resolution to insure it is in the minor’s best interest.
As a rule of thumb, experienced lawyers generally offer guidance about distribution of settlement money based on what case precedent says a court would likely do if it had jurisdiction over the matter, but adult parties to a claim can also come to a consensus themselves if they wish. If various family members of a deceased individual do not agree about how much of a settlement each of them should be entitled to, they can either file separate wrongful death lawsuits or work together via separately retained legal counsel. Should different law suits be filed, the defendant or defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit can require that any and all claims be consolidated in one lawsuit. Most lawyers will want to coordinate the claims of the various wrongful death claimants to insure that the most favorable outcome is achieved for everyone and avoid this problem altogether.
A Collin County Attorney Could Help Pursue a Fair Wrongful Death Settlement
Whether you and your family members are in agreement or not, over how to seek a wrongful death settlement on behalf of a loved one, retaining legal counsel could be beneficial to obtaining a positive case outcome. Trying to negotiate for a fair settlement alone is incredibly difficult, and it can be next to impossible if you are not on the same page with fellow beneficiaries.
Contacting a compassionate lawyer should be your first priority before settling a Collin County wrongful death case. Call today to discuss the possibilities in your situation.