Wrongful death cases can have values ranging from zero to hundreds of millions of dollars. Two recent recoveries in Texas were for more than $100,000,000, and it appears the values of these cases continue to rise. I’ve spent a great part of my career prosecuting, settling, and trying wrongful death cases. One thing I’ve learned is that every case is unique. You cannot tell the value of your case by analyzing the results of other cases. Nevertheless, there is value in knowing how other cases have been resolved to understand the general ballpark of how juries have valued these cases in the past.
In a 100-case sample taken from jury verdict research across the State of Florida (Fig. 1), statistical analyses showed that wrongful death cases averaged a total case value of $1,924,028. However, this sample showed a wide array of case values between $0, which is a defense verdict, and $30 million.
In the figure above, we have broken down the geographic regions of the sample. The Orlando region comprises wrongful death cases from Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. The Tallahassee region comprises wrongful death cases from Leon County, and the Rest-of-State region is made up of the wrongful death cases from the other counties in the sample that are not included in the Orlando or Tallahassee geographic regions.
Of the 69 cases in the Orlando geographic region, we see an average case value of $2,210,342.02. In the 20 cases from the Tallahassee geographic region, including defense verdicts, we see an average case value of $1,588,920. From the 11 Rest-of-State geographic region cases, we see an average case value of $1,795,545.55.
If you have a potential wrongful death case, I highly recommend you consult an experienced wrongful death attorney. It’s important to consult the attorney as early as possible because evidence tends to fade, and you might miss opportunities to build the evidence if you don’t start immediately. One of the main factors in the value of the case is having a skilled attorney that knows how to build and present the damages in a wrongful death case. The building of the evidence should start, for example, at the memorial service, which should be videotaped and photographed to capture the true essence of how you will remember your loved one and the full magnitude of the loss you have suffered. The value of a case depends upon the evidence, and a skilled attorney will start building the proof of damages immediately.