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How families calculate lost income in wrongful death cases

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Wrongful Death |

No one wants to file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are usually the result of some terrible family tragedy. A drunk driver causes a crash or a business releases an obviously unsafe product that leads to someone dying.

The people left behind when someone dies prematurely may then pursue a wrongful death lawsuit as a way of recovering the economic damages triggered by the untimely death of an immediate family member. Families can go to court to request reimbursement for losses caused by someone’s untimely death if they have proof that another party is to blame for their loved one’s death.

Wrongful death lawsuits in Texas can lead to compensation for the end-of-life care and funeral services. Families can also request compensation for someone’s future earning potential, which represents financial support they could have provided their loved ones. How do plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit calculate future wages?

Considering future opportunities is crucial

Many people employ an overly-simplistic approach to the calculation of lost wages in a wrongful death lawsuit. They simply multiply an individual’s current salary by the number of years they should have continued working before retirement if they hadn’t suddenly died.

The problem with this approach is obvious if people think about it long enough. Most workers continue to receive at least cost-of-living raises for as long as they continue working. Those with special skills or focused career ambitions might have also pursued promotions or new jobs with other companies to significantly increase their earning potential if they had survived. They could have eventually earned multiple times more than what they did at the time of their death.

There are also employment benefits to consider. An individual worker’s benefits could be worth as much as 30% of their annual salary. Family members may struggle to replace the health coverage and other benefits lost when someone dies unexpectedly. It is often a challenge for those seeking justice after a tragic incident to put a realistic value on the loss of their loved one by accurately estimating their future income.

Requesting the maximum amount of compensation possible can diminish the harm an untimely passing causes for survivors and maximize the consequences for those who negligently or intentionally cause someone’s death.