Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amount: Typical Payout in Mississippi

Average Wrongful Death Settlement Amount: Typical Payout in Mississippi

The loss of a loved one is devastating, made even more tragic when it’s due to someone else’s negligence. In Mississippi, as in the rest of the United States, families have legal recourse through wrongful death claims. These claims aim to provide financial compensation for the immense loss they have suffered.

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact average settlement due to the unique nature of each case. Wrongful death settlements in Mississippi and the U.S. can range widely. Some cases settle for tens of thousands of dollars, while others reach into the millions.

At Brown, Bass & Jeter, our experienced Mississippi wrongful death attorneys understand the emotional toll that a wrongful death lawsuit takes on families. Our firm has extensive experience steering our clients through the legal landscape of these cases, and we are committed to sharing our knowledge and resources to help those who have suffered such a loss.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Mississippi and the United States

“Wrongful death” is a legal term referring to the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity. It’s not simply an unfortunate accident; it signifies a breach of duty that resulted in a fatality.

Wrongful Death Statistics in Mississippi

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top three leading causes of death in Mississippi in 2022 were heart disease, cancer, and accidents.

Heart disease and cancer claimed the most lives — 8,858 and 6,665, respectively. While most of these deaths were due to natural causes, medical malpractice may have played a significant role in a portion of them.

Accidents, encompassing everything from car crashes to falls, were the third most common cause of death in Mississippi (2,367 deaths in 2022). A notable number of car accident deaths stem from the negligence of other drivers and are eligible for wrongful death lawsuits.

Mississippi Laws on Wrongful Death

Mississippi law provides a legal framework that defines wrongful death and establishes the procedures for filing a lawsuit.

The law outlines three primary categories that can lead to a wrongful death claim:

  • Deaths due to “any real, wrongful or negligent act or omission”.
  • Deaths due to unsafe machinery or methods of operation.
  • Deaths due to a breach of warranty related to the impurity or unfitness of items intended for consumption.

This legal framework allows surviving family members to seek compensation for their losses, both financial and emotional.

Types of Cases Leading to Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful death claims can arise from a variety of tragic events.

Here are some of the most frequent types of incidents that result in wrongful death claims in Mississippi:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: Negligent, drunk, distracted, and reckless driving are major contributors to deaths on Mississippi roads.
  • Medical malpractice: Misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and delayed treatment are all forms of medical negligence that can result in death.
  • Workplace accidents: Dangerous working conditions, inadequate safety equipment, and employer negligence can lead to fatal workplace accidents.
  • Defective products: Faulty products, from vehicles to medical devices, can cause serious injuries leading to death.
  • Premises liability incidents: Slip and fall accidents, dangerous conditions on properties, and inadequate security measures can result in wrongful death.
  • Intentional acts: Assault, homicide, and other intentional acts can also lead to wrongful death claims.

Awareness of these common causes can help families who are grappling with loss understand their legal options. In most cases, a family can file a wrongful death claim if the deceased would have been eligible to file a personal injury claim had they lived.

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What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Case in Mississippi?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you can recover different types of damages to compensate for the loss of your loved one.

Economic Damages

Bereaved family members can seek compensation for their tangible, financially quantifiable losses resulting from the death, such as:

  • Loss of income: The financial contributions the deceased would have made to the family, such as lost wages, benefits, and future earnings.
  • Medical expenses: The medical bills and all the costs associated with the deceased’s medical treatment before their death.
  • Funeral and burial expenses: The costs associated with the deceased’s funeral, burial, and memorial services.
  • Loss of services: The economic value of the assistance the deceased provided to the family, such as childcare, household chores, and caregiving for disabled relatives.

Economic damages are awarded to make families whole for the financial setbacks they face after the death of a loved one.

Non-Economic Damages

Families can also receive compensation for intangible losses that are not easily expressed in financial terms. These may include:

  • Pain and suffering: The physical and emotional distress experienced by the deceased before their death.
  • Loss of consortium: The loss of companionship, love, and support from the deceased, particularly in the context of a widowed spouse.
  • Loss of society: The loss of the deceased’s presence in the family’s life, including their social interactions, emotional support, and enjoyment of life together.

Mississippi’s wrongful death statute also allows for “punitive” or “exemplary” damages in certain cases, such as when the defendant’s conduct was very reckless or intentional. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct.

Average Wrongful Death Settlement and Payout in Mississippi

The financial compensation awarded in Mississippi wrongful death cases varies dramatically due to the many unique factors that shape each case.

The average outcome of such cases is difficult to calculate, but settlements and jury awards can span a broad spectrum. Some families may receive a settlement of less than $100,000, while others could see awards reaching $10 million.

To get a better understanding of the potential outcome of a wrongful death claim, you can schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. With their help, you can determine the types of damages you might seek and the specific factors that may influence the value of your case.

5 Factors Determining Wrongful Death Payouts in Mississippi

The following five factors can impact the overall value of a settlement or jury award in a wrongful death claim.

1. The Age and Earning Potential of the Deceased

In wrongful death cases, damages may include the lost future earnings and potential contributions the deceased would have made throughout their lifetime. Therefore, the tragic loss of a young person with a promising future may translate to a higher settlement.

Conversely, the loss of an older individual who was already retired or nearing retirement may result in a lower settlement due to their lower earning potential.

2. The Degree of the Defendant’s Negligence

The level of negligence or recklessness exhibited by the party responsible for the death is a critical factor. Cases involving gross negligence, willful misconduct, or intentional harm may result in higher payouts compared to those involving simple negligence.

3. The Relationship of the Surviving Family Members

The emotional and financial impact of a death varies depending on the relationship between the deceased and the surviving family members.

For example, suppose that a family experiences the loss of a father who had supported his wife and several children. Any wrongful death award would take into account the extent of the surviving family members’ financial and emotional dependence on the deceased.

In contrast, imagine a wrongful death case in which the deceased’s next of kin was a sibling who did not rely on them for financial support. In that case, a wrongful death settlement would likely be lower.

4. The Financial Losses Incurred

Compensation in a wrongful death case encompasses a range of financial losses, including medical expenses related to the final injury or illness, funeral and burial costs, the deceased’s lost wages and benefits, and the loss of valuable services the deceased would have provided.

5. The Strength of the Evidence

A strong case with clear liability and compelling evidence is more likely to secure a favorable settlement or jury award. This evidence may include accident reports, witness testimony, expert opinions, and medical records.

Given the many factors involved with calculating the value of a wrongful death claim, it’s strongly recommended to consult with a seasoned attorney. A wrongful death attorney can assess your case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, advocate for your rights in court if necessary, and fight for a fair settlement.

How Wrongful Death Payments Are Made

Once a settlement or verdict is reached, the timing and method of payment can vary. In most cases, the payout is disbursed as a single lump sum, providing the recipients with immediate access to the full amount. This lump sum can be used to cover outstanding debts and ongoing expenses or invested for future financial security.

However, in certain situations, a structured settlement may be an option. This involves a series of periodic payments over a predetermined period. Structured settlements can offer tax benefits and provide a steady income stream for beneficiaries, especially in cases involving significant sums of money.

Let Us Help in Your Wrongful Death Case

The loss of a loved one due to another’s negligence is an unimaginable tragedy. While no amount of money can truly compensate for such a loss, wrongful death claims in Mississippi offer a legal avenue for bereaved families to seek justice and financial relief.

When you understand the factors that influence settlement amounts and the potential damages available, you’ll feel empowered to make informed decisions during a difficult time.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, the personal injury lawyers at Brown, Bass & Jeter are here to help. Our experienced attorneys understand the unique challenges you face and are dedicated to providing compassionate and skilled legal representation.

We’ll fight tirelessly to protect your rights to fair compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Katrina S. Brown

Katrina S. Brown


Katrina Brown is a highly sought-after trial attorney, known for her courageous spirit and genuine desire to seek justi[...]

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