A sudden and unexpected death can completely change your family. The immediate family members of someone who dies have to worry about their end-of-life care costs and funeral expenses. The family will also have to adjust to accommodate the sudden drop in household income that the death of a wage earner causes.
Frequently, family members negatively impacted by a tragedy may seek financial compensation by pursuing a wrongful death claim. Indiana state law allows people to ask for compensation for economic losses including someone’s wages that they would have earned if they survived.
How do you calculate someone’s future income for the purpose of a wrongful death claim?
You need to look at their current income
What someone brings home each week is less than what you need to ask for in a lawsuit. The baseline for lost wage compensation is typically the amount of income someone earned in the months leading up to their death.
However, just claiming their take-home pay would significantly undercompensate your family. Their income isn’t the only contribution they make through their employment. Their work benefits are also very valuable and could add another 30% to their actual income.
Beyond that, you also need to think about their career trajectory. Would they have eventually taken a higher-paying job somewhere else or secured an internal promotion? You need to account for those career moves and the likely boost in income they would generate when determining how much to ask for in lost wages.
The more ambitious someone was and the stronger their career record, the more likely it is that your family can claim compensation for future promotions and raises that your loved one likely would have received.
Maximizing your claim is a helpful strategy
Wrongful death claims support surviving family members in two ways. They reduce the direct consequences the family experiences because of the death, and they also create penalties for the person or business responsible.
The more you receive in compensation, the less your family will struggle and the greater the consequences for the party to blame for your loss. Properly valuing a wrongful death claim will help your family move on after an unexpected tragedy that changes your household’s dynamics and financial stability.