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Calculating lost wages for wrongful death lawsuits

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Wrongful Death

The loss of a family member is a personal tragedy that can forever change someone’s life. Grief can alter someone’s personality. People heal, but they also evolve into a different version of themselves when they lose someone who matters to them deeply.

There are also practical implications to an unexpected death. Someone’s passing can cause major financial challenges for the family members that they leave behind. The income that they would have earned if they survived is one of the biggest losses that the family has to absorb after someone’s premature death that has been caused by another’s negligence or intentional conduct.

A wrongful death lawsuit could lead to reimbursement for provable economic losses, including lost future wages. The plaintiff pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit typically needs to request a specific amount of compensation from the courts. How can families ensure that they place an appropriate value on the income their loved one can no longer earn?

Calculations need reflect the big picture

Many people who die prematurely could have continued working for decades if they survived. Many workers also receive employment benefits that can have an economic value that is equivalent to roughly a third of their take-home pay.  Not only do they lose out on future income, but they also lose out on advancement opportunities.

Someone may have eventually become a manager or moved into a better-paid position within their profession. Their employer may have offered them raises based on their job performance. In some cases, bonuses may have been a possible source of wage augmentation as well. Often, workers in their 40s and 50s earn their peak wages, which means that someone’s income in their 30s isn’t a realistic reflection of their future earning potential.

It is necessary to consider advancement opportunities, incentive pay and workplace benefits when calculating the true financial impact of someone’s lost income. Families already struggling to adjust to the practical needs triggered by someone’s premature death, such as reallocating household responsibilities, may have a hard time investing the time and research necessary to create a realistic estimate of the wages someone cannot earn because they died.

Oftentimes, families contemplating wrongful death lawsuits need professional support when determining whether they have grounds for a lawsuit and establishing how much compensation to request from the courts. Seeking legal guidance is usually wise in this regard.

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