When a person or entity is deemed responsible for causing the death of an immediate family member, your entire world is flipped upside down. The emotional pain of losing someone you love is difficult to overcome. This goes without saying.
Your family will never be the same again, which is one reason why wrongful death lawsuits exist. They provide you and other families an avenue to seek justice for the loss of their loved one and hold the at-fault party responsible.
There are different types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit. The loss of financial support from the deceased is one type.
But how is the calculated. How do courts calculate seemingly unknown future income in a wrongful death claim?
Income is not just someone’s current salary multiplied
Some people may look at how many years their loved one would have continued to work before retiring and perhaps multiply that figure with the salary their loved one earned at the time of their death to calculate “lost income.” This simplistic approach does give a basic figure, but it is inaccurate.
One reason is that the amount fails to factor in cost-of-living wage increases, performance-based raises, and even possible promotions in the later years of someone’s career.
It also ignores the significant financial value of employment benefits. Health, dental and vision insurance, and other benefits such as an employer’s retirement matching contributions and supplemental insurance coverage can all add a significant percentage to a person’s annual salary.
When determining loss of future wages, it is important to consider many factors behind the position at the time of death.
Uncompensated work is also valuable
The loss of an individual’s income and employment benefits are not the only future income sources that should be taken into consideration in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Anything service-related that the deceased handled prior to death, such as lawncare, household maintenance, or childcare, should be accounted for, given those services now likely have to be paid for and outsourced to a professional.
Seeking the guidance of an attorney with knowledge handling wrongful death lawsuits in your area is a way to ensure you are seeking – and getting – the right compensation.
A lawyer will know the law and can help itemize expenses related to your family’s circumstances to help come up with the appropriate amount of damages to seek for your specific situation.