If you have lost a relative due to someone else’s negligence in the state of Massachusetts, and you plan to file for wrongful death compensation, you will need to calculate the value of your damages. Compensatory damages may be paid for any expenses that you’ve incurred, such as medical bills and funeral costs, as well as for factors such as any future income which the victim would have earned.

The way to calculate these future damages can be a complicated and confusing process.

Calculating Future Income Losses in Wrongful Death Compensation

Future losses in Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuits are calculated as the amount of income a victim would have earned if he or she had lived. This may be estimated by taking the victim’s income at the time of their death, and multiplying this by the years left until their age of retirement, or until the time of their expected death.

For example, if a 40-year-old married man was earning $30,000 a year at the time of his death, and was not expected to retire or die for another 25 years, his annual income at the time of his death would be multiplied by the number of years he could have continued working. In this case it would be $30,000 x 25 years, which would equal future losses of $750,000.

These calculations become complicated when life expectancy is used to estimate the loss of a victim’s income. In these calculations, other factors may be involved, such as medical history or genetics, which can increase or decrease the life expectancy.

Present Value in Wrongful Death Compensation

When life expectancy is used to calculate a victim’s loss of income, courts will often reduce the future losses to a present dollar value. This is done by estimating the present value of one dollar in the future, based on the number of years the victim was expected to live and an annual interest rate. Once that value is established, it is multiplied by the victim’s yearly salary.

These calculations are not always done the same way because the factors involved may vary. A Massachusetts wrongful death lawyer can help to more accurately estimate the value of your wrongful death compensation.