If you recently lost a loved one in an incident caused by another person acting without regard to others’ safety, your family is rightfully angry and grief-stricken. You are likely searching for answers so you can find closure. And you may be wondering how your family will fare if your deceased loved one was the primary breadwinner.

Naturally, you also want justice. The person responsible for a fatal accident should not be allowed to harm anyone else. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit and negotiating a settlement are viable options, with the help of our tenacious wrongful death attorneys at McDonald at Law. We have many years of experience in Lancaster wrongful death settlements, sparing you the anguish of a trial, but garnering the most compensation available.

Determining Compensation in Wrongful Death Actions

Once a wrongful death occurs, and a case is filed seeking compensation from the party responsible for the harm, attorneys, insurance companies, and the court become involved to determine suitable compensation for survivors.

Factors considered when attorneys, insurers, and judges review wrongful death cases include:

  • The type of accident involved; was the defendant acting intentionally or maliciously, and could the accident have been avoided
  • The circumstances surrounding the death
  • The decedent’s age and earning power
  • Policy limits on insurance carried by the defendant
  • The amount of medical bills incurred after the accident
  • How much evidence is available

Although wrongful death cases can be taken to trial, they are usually settled by the parties out of court. Discussions will center on the individual merits of the case.

For instance, the settlement in a wrongful death of a 45-year-old lawyer who is married and the sole breadwinner with four minor children will look different than the settlement for a widowed octogenarian with no children. The deceased lawyer’s spouse and each child may have separate wrongful death claims including loss of future family support and lost companionship and parental guidance.

A well-versed Lancaster lawyer at McDonald at Law familiar with wrongful death cases can advise family members and personal representatives of the person who passed away about negotiating settlements and the advisability of going to trial.

Proving Negligence

The hurdle that the decedent’s loved ones’ lawyers must clear before talks of settlement is proving negligence, which means that the defendant had a duty to the deceased loved one but breached that duty. They must also demonstrate that the breach was the direct and proximate cause of injuries or death, and the damages from the death must be determined to compensate the grieving family.

Importance of Insurance Coverage in Auto Wrecks

Many wrongful death settlements line up with the insurance coverage a defendant has. For instance, in a DUI car crash, the defendant’s automobile coverage can be assessed. A motivated attorney at McDonald at Law in Lancaster can argue for the maximum settlement for the untimely death using evidence and the above factors that help determine compensation.

Settlements keep grieving family members from having to withstand a court trial, the uncertainty of a jury verdict, and the aftereffect of having to collect from a resistant defendant. However, a trial may be necessary if the defendant is underinsured or not insured at all.

The Court’s Role When a Settlement is Reached

Under 231 Pa. Code Rule 2206(b)(1), once a settlement in a wrongful death case is reached (or a judgment, if a jury hears the case), an attorney for either side can ask for a judge’s order concerning who is entitled to a share of the settlement and how much they should receive. The court can designate a guardian if minor children or incapacitated persons will receive settlements and the plaintiffs name no guardian.  The court can also include structured settlements or trusts for minors or incapacitated persons to receive the funds.

A Lancaster Wrongful Death Settlement Lawyer Works for You

We extend our condolences if you have recently lost a loved one because someone else acted recklessly. Our Lancaster wrongful death settlement attorneys are skillful negotiators who will fight for the maximum compensation, whether from reckless defendants or their insurance carriers. We can help craft a settlement suitable for your future needs. Call McDonald at Law today for your consultation.

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