There are multiple elements that can affect the value of wrongful death claim including the decedent’s profession and educational level. A Pasadena personal injury lawyer discusses two factors: the decedent’s marital status and age. Following is a brief discussion of how marital status and age affect the value of a wrongful death claim.
The Effect of Marital Status
In most jurisdictions, only a person who is legally married to a decedent is permitted to file a spousal claim for wrongful death, according to a personal injury lawyer in Pasadena. However, common law marriages are recognized in some jurisdictions, which would allow a person who lived with the decedent in the role of a spouse to obtain a settlement. A handful of jurisdictions might recognize same-sex marriage or domestic partnership and allow for recovery.
It is the responsibility of the insurance company to make the determination whether a claimant meets the criteria for a spousal claim. In the event that a person’s status is not clear, some insurers may be willing to offer a compromise.
Unless a case is litigated and a judge makes a decision, there is potential for confusion and difficulties should more than one person claim to be a decedent’s spouse. There was a case in which three women claimed to be the widows of one decedent. The insurer decided that only one of the three had a valid marriage to the decedent. However, the insurer offered small settlements with the remaining two claimants to avoid additional legal action. Otherwise, the case may have gone to litigation in court.
If you have questions about a wrongful death claim or personal injury lawsuit, you may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Pasadena. Call the offices of The Paul S. Norris Law Firm at 626-993-4415 to schedule an initial appointment.