How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Death in an Auto Accident Lawsuit?

Valuing Deaths in Auto Accident Cases

This page will look at the average settlement value of auto accident cases involving fatalities. About 500 people are killed in traffic accidents every year in Maryland. When a fatal accident is caused by another driver’s negligence, the surviving family members of the decedent are entitled to get financial compensation in what is known as a wrongful death claim.

Estimating the average value of a wrongful death auto accident case is complicated because the value of these cases is often limited by the amount of available insurance. If you take a wrongful death case to a jury, you are going to get a verdict over $1 million. In fact, the average wrongful death verdict is $3.5 million and the median is $1.5 million.

In an auto accident case, however, the defendant is usually just another individual driver. They don’t have millions of dollars to pay a wrongful death verdict. The real value of the case is going to be limited by the amount of available insurance. If the defendant is a commercial trucking company or large corporation (like UPS or FedEx), then insurance limits are not going to be an issue. However, if the defendant is a personal driver the potential value of any wrongful death case will likely be limited to amounts of their insurance coverage, plus the decedent’s underinsured motorist coverage.

Wrongful Death Accident Verdicts & Settlements




2019 – Maryland

Pedestrian is killed in 3 car-accident. Wrongful death claims are brought against 2 drivers (both insured by State Farm).

$150,000 – Settlement

2017 – Maryland

Decedent is walking on the shoulder of a highway after running out of gas. Large tractor trailer hits and kills him. Decedent was only 20-years-old. Defendant is commercial trucking company so insurance limits were not an issue.

$1,650,000 – Settlement

2016 – Maryland

Decedent is on the side of the road changing a flat tire when he is struck and killed by a large truck. Defendant is commercial trucking company so no insurance limit issues.

$1,500,000 – Settlement