how much can you sue for wrongful death

Experiencing the loss of a loved one due to another party’s negligence is an unbearable tragedy. Amid the heartache, many individuals and families grapple with pursuing legal action but find themselves facing the question: “What could we potentially receive when we file a wrongful death lawsuit?”


This blog will demystify the wrongful death case and provide a comforting yet informative voice on your path toward justice. Let’s explore the intricate world of personal injury suits and determine the typical payout for a wrongful death in Bakersfield.



Defining a Bakersfield Wrongful Death Claim

In Bakersfield, as with the state of California, a wrongful death is a legal claim that asserts a person’s death was the result of another’s wrongful act, negligent behavior, or default.


This definition encompasses various scenarios, from fatal car accidents to medical malpractice incidents, any breach in the standard or duty of care that confirms the recklessness of the defendant.


A claim differs from a wrongful death lawsuit in that it is initiated by the decedent’s beneficiaries, who would receive financial compensation for their losses. The goal of a claim is to seek fair compensation for what they have suffered due to their loved one’s untimely death. Those left behind are able to claim death benefits, as well as seek compensation from the insurance company or the defendant’s assets.


The claim escalates into a lawsuit when the involved parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution. At this point, both sides will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and present arguments in front of a judge or jury during a trial.

How Much Can You Sue for Wrongful Death? Calculating Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When seeking damages in a wrongful death suit, there are two types of damages to consider in personal injury law: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

This refers to financial losses incurred as a direct result of the death of your loved one. It can include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and more.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages are less tangible but equally crucial. They cover the emotional and psychological impact on survivors, such as loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and the loss of guidance and support the deceased provided. Non-economic damages are calculated using a multiplier method, which takes into account the severity of the loss and multiplies it by a predetermined number.

What’s the Average Payout in a Wrongful Death Suit?

what's the average payout in a wrongful death suit

How much can you sue for wrongful death? Determining the average payout for a wrongful death claim is not a straightforward equation. Each case is influenced by unique circumstances that set the final settlement amount.


To provide a clearer picture, consider these three hypothetical scenarios and their corresponding compensation:

Case 1

A young professional with a burgeoning career dies in a workplace accident. His family pursues a wrongful death claim that results in a settlement exceeding $2 million, reflecting his expected lifetime earnings.

Case 2

A retiree is killed in a nursing home fire, attributed to poor safety protocols. The wrongful death suit yields a compensation of $1.5 million, which encompasses medical costs, the distress of an untimely death, and funeral expenses.

Case 3

A minor is fatally injured in a defective product incident. While the monetary value of a child’s life is incalculable, the court awards the family $3 million to provide for their emotional trauma and financial support.

Crucial Factors That Influence Wrongful Death Compensation

How much can you sue for wrongful death? The total payout in a wrongful death suit is contingent on several factors, such as:

Income and Financial Support of the Deceased

The economic impact of the death on the survivors largely depends on the deceased’s financial contributions to the family. This includes their salary, benefits, and potential future earnings. Surviving family members can establish this by providing pay stubs, tax returns, and other documentation of the deceased’s income, among others.

Circumstances and Liabilities Surrounding the Death

The specifics of the wrongful death, including the defendant’s liability and demonstrated negligence, can significantly sway the compensation amount.


For example, if the injury and death was caused by a defective product or recklessness, the payout in a wrongful death suit may be higher compared to a death resulting from a car accident.

Age and Life Expectancy of the Deceased

A younger individual with a longer life expectancy may warrant a greater monetary award to compensate for the loss of future income.


Those who file a claim may need to prove that the deceased’s future earnings would have exceeded their current income. Additionally, the age and life expectancy can also impact other factors such as loss of companionship and emotional suffering for family members.

Expenses Incurred Due to Death

In addition to lost wages, a wrongful death claim may also cover any expenses incurred as a result of the death. This can include funeral costs, medical bills, and any other financial burden placed on the surviving spouse or other family members. These costs can add up quickly and should not be overlooked when trying to recover financial compensation.

When Timing Is Everything: Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Death Case

The clock starts ticking the moment the injury or death happens. As per California law, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is generally two years from the date of death. An untimely filing may bar your legal right to seek compensation.

Lost a Loved One? Work With an Experienced Bakersfield Wrongful Death Lawyer.
Call RTM Law Firm for a Free Consultation.

The decision to file a wrongful death suit is never taken lightly. It’s a step made amidst significant loss and upheaval. However, it’s also a beacon of promise, a testament to the indelible value of a life.


Should you find yourself in need of legal representation after the death of a loved one in Bakersfield, reach out to RTM Law Firm. Our personal injury lawyers provide professional and compassionate support at this time of great need.


How much can you sue for wrongful death? Your next steps are crucial. Contact us and take your first toward healing and justice.


Call our Bakersfield wrongful death attorney at (661) 402-3200.




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