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What is the average wrongful death settlement?

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The average amount granted in a wrongful death settlement depends on many factors. First, you must consider the state in which the case was filed. Certain states may not put a cap on non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, and mental anguish which the victim's survivors experience. Of the states that do put a cap on non-economic damages, the amount may also vary depending on the type of wrongful death case.

For example, Florida limits non-economic damages to 1 million dollars against medical practitioners in wrongful death situations and 1.5 million against non-practitioners. This state and others may also limit the amount of non-economic damages awarded for situations that arose from emergency medical care to $150,000 against practitioners and $750,000 against non-practitioners.

Other factors considered in determining settlements in most states for wrongful death cases include:
· *Mental pain and suffering of survivors (see above for explanation);
· The character of the victim;
· Medical and support services from the date of the victim's injury to his or her death;
· Funeral expenses;
· Lost parental companionship, protection, and nurturing, for any surviving minor children;
· Expected earnings of the victim from the time of death to retirement age; and
· Loss of employment related benefits (pension, medical coverage, etc.).

There are also punitive damages to consider in certain states. Punitive damages are those ordered by the court to punish the party at fault and discourage similar negligent or intentional behavior in the future. This is where you often see rather high settlement amounts as the jury will consider the net-worth of the defendant (though this amount can be reduced by the judge). If you have a wrongful death settlement against a multi-billion dollar corporation, you will generally see a higher settlement figure than against an individual medical practitioner or a small business.

As you can see, it is impossible to give an average amount for a wrongful death settlement without knowing at least the state the case is in and the situation that led to the wrongful death. Additionally, the condition in many settlements is confidentiality and these figures are never made public.
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