If you're the plaintiff in a wrongful death case, you may end up receiving a settlement if your case is successful. It's important that you understand a few important issues regarding wrongful death settlements before receiving these funds.
The following are six important things you should understand before receiving a wrongful death settlement.
There are several factors that impact the amount of a wrongful death settlement
The amount of a wrongful death settlement is influenced by factors including how old the deceased individual was, how much money the individual earned, and how high the individual's medical bills were.
You don't have to pay taxes on any wrongful death settlement you receive
It's important to understand any responsibilities you have once you receive a wrongful death settlement when it comes to taxes. Fortunately, you won't have to pay taxes on funds you receive as a settlement in a wrongful death case in most cases.
Punitive damages can be awarded in addition to a settlement in some cases
In some wrongful death cases, plaintiffs receive both a settlement and punitive damages. Punitive damages can be awarded if there is a criminal case against the defendant as well as a civil wrongful death lawsuit.
Punitive damages are amounts the defendant has to pay as a punishment. If you do receive funds from punitive damages, it's important to be aware of the fact that these funds are typically taxable.
Wrongful death settlements can be either structured settlements or lump-sum payments
Wrongful death settlements can be paid out in numerous ways depending on the circumstances. These settlements are usually paid either as lump sums or structured settlements.
With a lump-sum payment, the entire settlement amount will be paid out at once. On the other hand, a structured settlement involves breaking up the settlement into numerous payments.
You might have the option to request either a lump sum or a structured settlement payment setup. If you choose a lump sum, the total amount of the settlement may be reduced because it must be paid right away. You may be able to receive more overall if you agree to a structured settlement.
The defendant in your case agrees to a settlement to avoid going to court
You need to understand that the defendant will only offer a settlement if the defendant thinks the legal costs of going to court will be high and the plaintiff is likely to win. It's, therefore, important to carefully reflect on the amount of a settlement before agreeing to it.
You may have the option of proceeding to a trial if you are not happy with the settlement amount
You don't necessarily have to accept a settlement offer in a wrongful death case as the plaintiff. You have the option of refusing the settlement and proceeding to trial with your case if you and your lawyer think the settlement being offered is too low.
Contact a local wrongful death lawyer to learn more.