If you are currently facing the difficult task of a wrongful death lawsuit while grieving a family member or loved one, you may feel overwhelmed. Planning for your future financial security can be difficult in this uncertain time, which is why it is important that you understand how wrongful death settlements are paid out. This will enable you to more effectively prepare for your new future in the absence of your loved one.
Wrongful Death Settlements Are Paid Out By:
A wrongful death settlement is the amount that is determined to be sufficient compensation for the loss of an individual (often referred to as the decedent, or the person who died). This settlement typically includes considerations of potential earnings and contributions to the family, age, medical and funeral expenses and pain and suffering, among a variety of other factors.
Once a settlement amount is reached, it can be paid out by different people or entities depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Who pays in your wrongful death suit will depend on how the defendant’s insurance works and whether or not he or she carries insurance that covers wrongful death.
Insurance Companies Who Provide Liability Coverage
If the accused (the person or entity whom the lawsuit claims is liable for the wrongful death) has insurance that offers liability coverage, then the insurance will start the process of paying for the wrongful death settlement. However, simply possessing insurance coverage does not mean that a defendant’s insurance will pay the settlement amount. Most insurance policies have a policy limit that caps payouts; in cases of large settlements, the insurance cap may be reached, and the insurance policy will refuse to pay any further part of the settlement after that.
In this situation, the negligent party or parties will be responsible for paying the rest of the settlement amount not covered by insurance out of pocket. They may also be required to pay for any legal fees accumulated during the process of resolving the wrongful death lawsuit.
The Accused If They Do Not Have Insurance To Pay The Claim
If the accused does not have insurance that covers liability claims, he or she will be personally responsible for the entire amount. Defendants with few financial assets may struggle to pay settlements that exceed their monetary value.
Settlements in a wrongful death case may be paid out in a lump sum, or they may be structured into a payment plan that is spread over the course of multiple months or years. How your settlement is paid will be discussed during the agreement process as the parties work together to come to a resolution. If the case escalates to court, the court will determine the method of payout for the settlement based upon the need of the plaintiff and the ability to pay of the defendant, among other considerations.
Consider Hiring Knowledgeable Wrong Death Attorneys
Once you have reached a settlement in your wrongful death case, a number of issues may still arise. You may have to determine whether your settlement payments are taxable according to the IRS. Compensatory payments, which are paid out to provide compensation for the financial and non-monetary damages that arise as a result of a wrongful death, may or may not be taxable. Compensation for emotional distress is typically taxed as income, but your specific circumstances may vary.
How An Attorney Can Help
For this reason, working with a knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death lawyer is critical. A wrongful death case contains many legal nuances, and an expert will work hard to secure for you, a higher settlement than you may be able to achieve on your own. An attorney is uniquely positioned to fight for your right to compensation for all relevant aspects of a case, such as funeral and burial expenses, cost of medical care prior to the death, pain and suffering compensation, a recovery of the amount of future income and benefits that the decedent may have provided, loss of consortium and possibly punitive damages.
In some cases, depending on the state, a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to recover punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the person or entity for their negligent behavior and discourage this behavior in the future.
Reach Out To A Qualified Wrongful Death Attorney
Understanding your rights and the factors that contribute to your wrongful death settlement can be challenging; rely on a skilled attorney to work on your behalf to secure appropriate compensation and finalize your case quickly and efficiently. The Brown Firm will confidently assist you in navigating a wrongful death lawsuit and ensure that you are compensated fairly and quickly during the settlement.
By working with a legal expert, you can begin planning for your financial future and the process of recovery after this challenging time. Reach out today by phone at 703.828.0900 or request a consultation online. We look forward to hearing from you.