What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

wrongful death statute of limitations in illinois

Losing a loved one is heartbreaking.

If your loved one’s death was a result of someone else’s negligence, this could add an additional layer of emotion.

After the initial shock and grief, you may want to seek justice for your loved one in the form of a wrongful death claim.

Let’s review the factors that affect the average wrongful death settlement.

The Average Settlement

First and foremost, it is essential to understand that there is no “average” settlement for wrongful death. Every case is different, bringing with it unique facts and circumstances.

The types of damages available for these types of cases vary a lot from state to state. Depending on the issues surrounding the case, a settlement can range from thousands to millions of dollars.

A personal injury attorney can assess your case and give you a better idea of what to expect.

How to Calculate a Wrongful Death Settlement

Placing a monetary value on someone’s life isn’t easy. Many factors are considered when attempting to calculate a settlement, including:

  • The person’s age
  • Health at the time of death
  • Their income
  • Their earning potential
  • Medical bills, and
  • Funeral expenses

Other, more abstract factors may play a role when calculating a wrongful death settlement. These factors must also be supported by evidence to be successfully proven.

Certain damages, called loss of consortium and support, are not monetary in nature. They include:

  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of intimacy, and
  • The loved one’s pain and suffering

These damages are very real but hard to prove due to a lack of concrete evidence. Along with economic losses, a personal injury attorney can determine how to prove these more intangible, emotional losses.

Factors That Affect Your Settlement

There are certain factors that may affect your recovery amount for a wrongful death suit. They may reduce recovery or bar recovery altogether.

Your Loved One Was Partly at Fault

In certain instances, a loved one may have contributed to their own accident. Every case is different, but it is possible for victims to have acted negligently.

Under these circumstances, the amount a family member can recover may be reduced or even eliminated.

The Statute of Limitations Has Expired

A statute of limitations is the maximum time you have after an event to file a claim. In Illinois, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death suit is generally two years after the date of death. 

However, if the action is against a government, such as a city, township, county, or state, the statute of limitations may be as short as one year. 

If the wrongful death resulted from a criminal or intentional act, there may be an extension of the statute of limitations beyond the two-year limit.

In Iowa, it is generally two years after the date of death.  However, the time frame may be shorter or require notice within a shorter period of time if the entity sued is an establishment serving alcohol. 

In both states, an action based on a death resulting from a defective product may have special rules that apply depending on when the nature of the product defect was discovered.

Once this deadline has passed, there is little a personal injury attorney can do. You will, in most cases, have missed your opportunity to obtain a settlement.

In this case, it’s best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to make sure you know how to proceed.

You Didn’t Hire the Right Attorney

Wrongful death lawsuits are unique.

It is imperative to do your research and hire a knowledgeable attorney with extensive experience handling these types of cases. Without an experienced attorney, you may receive a settlement that is less than you deserve.

Going through a wrongful death lawsuit can be a trying and emotional time. It is imperative to have a strong and compassionate attorney by your side from beginning to end.

Experienced and Compassionate Attorneys

Our team at VanDerGinst Law has over 30 years of personal injury experience.

We know how to fiercely advocate for our clients while still being attentive to their needs.

Tell us your story and let us see how we can help you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.


The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.