4 Common Questions About Wrongful Death Settlements

When someone you love dies at the hands of another individual’s negligence, it can be a tough situation to deal with. While receiving compensation won’t heal your emotional wounds, it can heal some of the financial wounds associated with the death, as well as send a message to the individual responsible for it. If you’re about to receive a wrongful death settlement, you may have some questions that need answers. The following are a few.

 

  1. Will My Settlement Be Taxed?

According to the IRS, most wrongful death settlements will not be taxed. There are some exceptions, however, and you should be aware of them. Some settlement portions that could get taxed include:

 

  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical bills that were previously deducted from your income

 

  1. What’s the Difference Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages?

When you are awarded compensatory damages, they’re meant to compensate you for something you lost. This would include lost wages if you relied on your deceased loved one’s income to sustain your family and medical bills you paid before your loved one passed away. It could also include funeral expenses you were forced to pay.

 

Punitive damages are meant to drive a message home and punish the defendant. For example, if your loved one died after being hit by a drunk driver, punitive damages may be awarded to show others it doesn’t pay to drive drunk, and to further punish the individual for making such a poor decision.

 

  1. What’s the Worth of a Wrongful Death Settlement?

Each wrongful death case is different and needs a unique look to determine how much a settlement might be worth. Some things that go into that determination include future financial support, the loss of benefits, lost income, medical expenses, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and other similar issues. Your lawyer can help you determine this amount, though you may receive more or less than what you and your lawyer predict.

 

  1. Who Receives the Settlement Check?

When your case is finished, you might wonder whether you or your lawyer receive the settlement check. In most cases, it’s made out to both of you. The lawyer will settle any liens that have been placed on the settlement, and when that’s complete, he or she will sign the rest over to you.

 

Contacting a Wrongful Death Attorney

If you’re in the middle of a wrongful death lawsuit, you might have some questions regarding your settlement. Contact a lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer from Wiseman Bray PLLC, today to get answers to your questions.